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WASHINGTON — An Iowa man was found guilty on Friday of leading a crowd of rioters when he chased a US Capitol police officer up a flight of stairs and accosted other officials guarding the Senate, in one of the most harrowing scenes of the attack mobs that day.
A federal jury deliberated about four hours before convicting Douglas Jensen of felonies that he prevented Congress from confirming the January 6, 2021 Electoral College vote and that he assaulted or disturbed police officers during the siege.
Jensen was convicted on all charges, including engaging in disorderly conduct in the Capitol while carrying a jackknife in his pocket.
During the closing arguments of the trial, a prosecutor accused Jensen of “weaponizing” rioters by taking the lead when he chased Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman up a flight of stairs. A reporter’s video of the confrontation went viral.
“The defendant didn’t just lead the mob. He armed it,” Assistant US Attorney Hava Mirell told jurors. “He knew he had the numbers and he was willing to use them.”
Jensen, a construction worker from Des Moines, Iowa, wore a T-shirt with a capital “Q” signifying his adherence to the QAnon conspiracy theory. One of the most memorable images of the Jan. 6 attack shows Jensen with his arms outstretched as he confronts a line of police officers near the Senate chambers.
“Arrest the vice president,” Jensen told one of the officers, according to prosecutors.
QAnon has focused on the unfounded belief that former President Donald Trump was secretly fighting a Satan-worshiping cabal of Deep State enemies, prominent Democrats, and Hollywood elites. Jensen believed the conspiracy theory’s apocalyptic prophecy that “The Storm” would come, ushering in mass arrests and executions of Trump’s enemies, including Vice President Mike Pence.
Pence chaired the Senate on Jan. 6 when a joint session of Congress was called to confirm President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory. Before the riot, Trump and his allies spread the falsehood that Pence somehow could have overturned the election results.
After scaling the outer walls of the Capitol, Jensen climbed through a broken window to enter the building. Prosecutors said Jensen learned from a friend’s text message that Pence was about to confirm the election results.
“That will change,” replied Jensen.
Jensen did not testify at his trial, which began on Tuesday. Goodman was a key witness for prosecutors.
Before running upstairs, Goodman approached Jensen and other rioters with his hand on his gun. Fearing for his life, Goodman retreated upstairs and found support from other officers guarding an entrance to the Senate where prosecutors said senators were being evacuated.
At least 880 people have been charged with felonies related to federal crimes involving the Capitol. About 400 of them have pleaded guilty. A jury found eight suspects in the Capitol riots guilty after a trial. None of the defendants who had jury trials were acquitted of any charges.
Punishments for the rioters ranged from suspended sentences for minor offenses to 10 years in prison for a man who used a metal flagpole to attack an officer.