InfoWars host pleads guilty to January 6 Capitol riot charge
InfoWars host Owen Shroyer pleads guilty to joining Donald Trump supporters who rioted at the US Capitol.
Owen Shroyer, the host of InfoWars, pleaded guilty to illegally entering a prohibited place on January 6, 2021, admitting his involvement in the incident but insisting he never set foot inside the facility.
In a legal document released on Friday, Shroyer entered a guilty plea, acknowledging that he and InfoWars founder Alex Jones violated several restricted areas of the Capitol grounds. He is alleged to have inspired additional rioters to join him during the event and stood atop the Capitol steps at one point to guide the crowds in chanting.
Prosecutors disputed the conspiracy-minded commentator's original claim that he tried to de-escalate the situation, pointing out that Shroyer was overheard yelling "death to tyrants" and advocating for revolution while at the Capitol.
In addition, Shroyer's defense argued that the government had violated his fundamental right to "protest, speak freely, and report the news," because he had attended the event as a journalist.
"The First Amendment permits and protects the rights of individuals to assemble and engage in demonstrations that confront and criticize the government, even when those demonstrations become rowdy or unruly," according to defense attorney Norm Pattis.
The prosecution, on its part, rejected that reasoning, claiming that Shroyer's "claimed status as a journalist does not immunize him from criminal prosecution."
Due to a prior agreement for deferred prosecution in a different matter involving an incident in 2020 in which Shroyer disrupted a congressional hearing, the case against Shroyer was special.
He agreed not to engage in "loud, threatening, or abusive language, or to engage in any disorderly or disruptive conduct, at any place upon the United States Capitol grounds."
Trespassing on a restricted building or property can result in a sentence of up to one year in prison, absent aggravating circumstances, and Shroyer is still awaiting his sentencing.
Alongside veteran conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who has not been charged in connection with the violence on January 6, the host of "The War Room With Owen Shroyer" is InfoWars' number-two on-screen presence. Both parties say there was significant voter fraud in the 2020 election; they claimed the race was stolen from former President Donald Trump.
According to the Justice Department, more than 1,000 people have been detained and accused in connection with the Capitol incident, resulting in about 600 guilty pleas and 100 convictions.
Those facing legal repercussions include militia members accused of conspiring as well as so-called "MAGA Moms" whose only offense was entering the Capitol to take selfies.