The conservative group, Look Ahead is working to find jobs for people who participated in the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Jake Chansley, of Phoenix, in the horned hat, came to be known as the face of the insurrection. Photo by Win McNamee | Getty Images
A right-wing organization that calls the perpetrators of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol “political prisoners” is trying to find jobs for the insurrectionists.
“Many of these folks, for ultimately being charged with misdemeanor trespass, have had their savings wiped out, lost their jobs, lost their homes, lost their businesses,” Matt Braynard, executive director of Look Ahead, told the Arizona Mirror.
Braynard said he’d spoken with countless people who had lost their jobs because they attended the rally or following riot on Jan. 6, and added that many of the insurrectionists who took plea deals will soon be released from prison and will need jobs.
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So far, around 870 people have been arrested in association with their actions on Jan. 6, when thousands of Trump supporters descended on the Capitol, overran police in violent confrontations, smashed doors and windows to enter the building and stormed the House and Senate as they were certifying the 2020 election.
Some 380 people have pleaded guilty — 80 of them to felonies and 300 to misdemeanors, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Another 13 people have been found guilty through jury trials.
Ten of the people charged were from Arizona or had Arizona associations, and five of those pleaded guilty.
“I think that everybody that’s been convicted and serves their time deserves a chance,” Braynard said, but added that he believes political protesters on the left have a better support system.
The group’s Jobs for #J6 platform has already gotten interest from a few dozen businesses, Braynard said, but he wouldn’t share the names of the businesses or their locations because he said journalists would “try to put those employers on the spot and destroy them.”
Braynard claimed that the media treats employers as heroes if they hire a murderer after his release from prison, but would vilify those who employ Jan. 6 rioters. He falsely said that the campaign of U.S. Senate candidate in Pennsylvania John Fetterman employed two murderers and was lauded for it. Fetterman’s campaign employs Dennis Horton and Lee Horton, who were convicted for a 1993 murder despite evidence that they were not involved and did not kill anyone; they served 30 years in prison before their sentences were commuted last year by Gov. Tom Wolf. The two men were freed after their backers convinced the governor they had been wrongly convicted.
Below are details about those from Arizona, or with local associations, who were charged for their reported participation in the insurrection.
Edward Vallejo is charged with seditious conspiracy for his actions on Jan. 6, along with several other felonies, including obstructing an official proceeding. He’s charged alongside a group of 10 other members of the Oath Keepers with attempting to use force to stop the transfer of the presidency from Donald Trump to Joe Biden, according to court documents. The Oath Keepers are a far-right extremist group,
Vallejo is accused of coordinating teams of Oath Keepers who waited outside of the capital on the day of the insurrection, on stand-by to deliver guns and ammunition to rioters on the Capitol grounds.
He was released from jail and put on house arrest with electronic monitoring in May.
His trial is set for Nov. 29.
Felicia and Cory Konold
Felicia and Cory Konold, siblings from the Tucson area, are charged with several felonies for their purported actions on Jan. 6. Both have pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The Konolds are charged with conspiracy, obstruction of an official proceeding and carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon, in addition to other charges, alongside three men from Kansas and one from Missouri who are members of the Proud Boys. The Proud Boys are a far-right extremist group.
The group is accused of making their plans for Jan. 6 on the right wing social media site Parler and of intending to forcibly enter the Capitol building to stop the certification of the 2020 presidential election.
They reportedly brought paramilitary gear, including tactical vests, helmets, eye protection and radio equipment with them to the Capitol on the day of the insurrection.
Both Konolds have been released without bond and their next court date is set for Nov. 1.
Jacob Zerkle was arrested in Tucson in March and faces numerous charges, including assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers and acts of physical violence on the Capitol grounds or in the building.
Zerkle is accused of getting into physical fights with police officers while he was part of the mob on the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, including throwing punches at an officer, according to court documents.
He pleaded not guilty to all charges in April and was released without bond. A trial is set for June 2023.
Joshua Knowles, of Gilbert, was arrested in August and charged with multiple felonies and misdemeanors in association with the Jan. 6 riot, including entering and remaining on restricted building or grounds and demonstrating in a Capitol building. He pleaded not guilty to all charges on Sept. 29.
Knowles is accused of entering the Capitol building on Jan. 6 as part of the mob and later that day of violating a curfew imposed in Washington, D.C., staying on the Capitol grounds even though officers told him to leave, according to court documents.
He was released without bond Sept. 8.
James McGrew, who was arrested in Glendale, pleaded guilty in May to one count of assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers, as part of a plea agreement.
McGrew is accused of being among the first rioters who crashed through police lines, climbed the Capitol building terrace and entered the building through the terrace doors. He’s also accused of pushing and struggling with police officers inside the Capitol, including grabbing an officer’s baton after the officer hit him with it, as well as throwing a pole at them, according to court documents.
McGrew was on parole for a past crime when he participated in the riot, according to court records. He was convicted of shoplifting in 2011 and 2013 and vehicle theft in 2016.
He’s set to be sentenced Oct. 14, and could face up to 8 years in prison.
McGrew has been in jail since his arrest in June 2021.
“QAnon Shaman” Jacob Chansley is arguably the most famous participant in the Jan. 6 insurrection, with photos of him in his signature furry horned viking hat, with paint covering his shirtless body published over and over again around the world.
Chansley pleaded guilty in September 2021 to one count of obstructing an official proceeding, a felony, as part of a plea agreement. In November he was sentenced to 41 months in prison and three years of probation. He is currently incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution in Safford and is set to be released in December 2023.
During court proceedings, the prosecution accused Chansley of serving as the face of the insurrection, as he walked through the Capitol carrying an American flag and a bullhorn and shouting obscenities and threats of violence, according to witnesses.
Nathan Entrekin, of Cottonwood, pleaded guilty in January to parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building, a misdemeanor, and was sentenced in May to 45 days in jail, three years of probation, 60 hours of community service and $500 in restitution.
Jan. 6 investigators said they recognized Entrekin in footage from inside the Capitol building because of his unique outfit. In photos and video from that day, he appears to be dressed in a Roman gladiator costume, complete with sandals. He was also accused of carrying a wooden dowel with a piece of white cloth attached that read, “In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives and our children.”
Entrekin tweeted July 31 that he’d been released from prison.
“To those still in captivity for the wrongs of government – peace be unto you,” he tweeted that day.
Andrew Hatley pleaded guilty in September 2021 to one count of parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building, as part of a plea agreement. He was sentenced last December to three years of probation and ordered to pay $500 in restitution.
Hatley claimed via social media that he was not part of the Capitol insurrection, saying that he didn’t back “lost causes.” But the FBI said data from his cell phone proved that he was at the Capitol on Jan. 6, according to court documents.
Hatley was arrested in Eloy, but according to court documents, he drove to the Capitol from South Carolina on the day of the riot.
Micajah Jackson, of Phoenix, pleaded guilty in November through a plea agreement to one count of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.
He was sentenced in March to three years of probation, including 90 days in a residential re-entry center and was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and $500 restitution.
The judge in his case said she sentenced him to the 90 days in a residential center because he at times seemed to express remorse for his actions on Jan. 6, but other times made obviously untrue assertions about the day, including that Antifa, a loosely organized group of anti-fascists, was responsible for the violence that day and that police officers were beating women, children and the elderly.
“January 6th was a dark day,” Jackson said during an interview, according to court documents. “I call it the D.C. massacre. There was nothing glorious about that day. Citizens were attacked by the government. People got agitated. People fought back.”
Jackson was accused of marching with members of the Proud Boys on the day of the riot, but he has denied being a part of the group.
***UPDATE: Additional context was added to a section of this story relating to the commutation given to Dennis and Lee Horton in 2021.
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