DOJ recommends four-month jail term for Air Force veteran who joined Jan. 6 riot

Prosecutors are recommending a four-month jail term for the first military veteran set to be sentenced for participating in the Capitol riot, citing his service as a factor warranting stiffer punishment.

Derek Jancart, an Air Force veteran, breached the Capitol in the early wave of the riot and meandered for 40 minutes — alongside friend and fellow defendant Erik Rau — to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. Jancart remained outside while Rau, also facing a four-month sentence, briefly stepped into Pelosi’s suite. The pair is due to be sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty to misdemeanor offenses.

“While Jancart’s military service is laudable, it renders his conduct on January 6 all the more egregious,” Justice Department attorneys wrote in a sentencing memo. “As a former military member, Jancart was well aware that taxpayer status does not bestow upon a person the right to enter restricted government buildings. His voluntary decision to storm a guarded government building is nothing short of shocking in light of his former military service and training.”

Prosecutors added that Jancart would not have allowed “civilians onto restricted military basis [sic] on the basis that they ‘paid taxes.'”

It’s a notable marker for the Justice Department as it prosecutes hundreds of defendants who breached the Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection. The mob included dozens of military veterans and retired service members, current and retired police officers, and even a few security-clearance holders. The Justice Department is making clear that it will consider military service an aggravating factor when it comes to recommending the sentence convicted rioters should receive.

Although several misdemeanor defendants have pleaded guilty and avoided jail time, prosecutors say they don’t expect that to be common. Rather, those initial defendants were accused of no violence, expressed remorse and cooperated with law enforcement.

In the case of Jancart and Rau, however, prosecutors say they came to Washington prepared for potential violence — Jancart brought a gas mask and Rau brought kevlar-lined gloves — and were among the first to breach the building, emboldening others to follow suit. They delved deeper into the building, stepping past broken glass, and ignoring alarms and tear gas. In addition, after the riot, the pair celebrated their actions on social media.

Jancart defended his actions when interviewed by law enforcement, suggesting that his status as a taxpayer gave him the right to enter the building.

Unlike Jancart, prosecutors say Rau took more steps to express contrition for entering the Capitol and turned himself in to authorities. But they said he initially celebrated his actions that day and deleted various text messages and photos that would have been evidence in the case. And his actions, they said, egged on fellow rioters even as they were engaged in violent conduct toward officers.

“While Rau himself did not participate in that physical attack, he screamed threatening language to police officers and celebrated the violence,” prosecutors wrote in Rau’s sentencing memo. “Jancart, too, can be heard yelling ‘get him!’ on the video. When the line is broken, Rau and Jancart start screaming, ‘go, go, go!’ and ‘they just pushed through the guards!'”

“Rau’s conduct on January 6 was more egregious than Jancart’s … although Rau’s conduct on January 6 was more egregious than Derek Jancart’s based on the conduct captured in Exhibit 1, his conduct after Derek Jancart’s arrest – both his cooperation with the prosecution and lack of social media postings – is sufficiently mitigating that the government is recommending a sentence of four months’ incarceration for both defendants. “

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Prosecutors are recommending a four-month jail term for the first military veteran set to be sentenced for participating in the Capitol riot, citing his service as a factor warranting stiffer punishment.

Derek Jancart, an Air Force veteran, breached the Capitol in the early wave of the riot and meandered for 40 minutes — alongside friend and fellow defendant Erik Rau — to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. Jancart remained outside while Rau, also facing a four-month sentence, briefly stepped into Pelosi’s suite. The pair is due to be sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty to misdemeanor offenses.

“While Jancart’s military service is laudable, it renders his conduct on January 6 all the more egregious,” Justice Department attorneys wrote in a sentencing memo. “As a former military member, Jancart was well aware that taxpayer status does not bestow upon a person the right to enter restricted government buildings. His voluntary decision to storm a guarded government building is nothing short of shocking in light of his former military service and training.”

Prosecutors added that Jancart would not have allowed “civilians onto restricted military basis [sic] on the basis that they ‘paid taxes.'”

It’s a notable marker for the Justice Department as it prosecutes hundreds of defendants who breached the Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection. The mob included dozens of military veterans and retired service members, current and retired police officers, and even a few security-clearance holders. The Justice Department is making clear that it will consider military service an aggravating factor when it comes to recommending the sentence convicted rioters should receive.

Although several misdemeanor defendants have pleaded guilty and avoided jail time, prosecutors say they don’t expect that to be common. Rather, those initial defendants were accused of no violence, expressed remorse and cooperated with law enforcement.

In the case of Jancart and Rau, however, prosecutors say they came to Washington prepared for potential violence — Jancart brought a gas mask and Rau brought kevlar-lined gloves — and were among the first to breach the building, emboldening others to follow suit. They delved deeper into the building, stepping past broken glass, and ignoring alarms and tear gas. In addition, after the riot, the pair celebrated their actions on social media.

Jancart defended his actions when interviewed by law enforcement, suggesting that his status as a taxpayer gave him the right to enter the building.

Unlike Jancart, prosecutors say Rau took more steps to express contrition for entering the Capitol and turned himself in to authorities. But they said he initially celebrated his actions that day and deleted various text messages and photos that would have been evidence in the case. And his actions, they said, egged on fellow rioters even as they were engaged in violent conduct toward officers.

“While Rau himself did not participate in that physical attack, he screamed threatening language to police officers and celebrated the violence,” prosecutors wrote in Rau’s sentencing memo. “Jancart, too, can be heard yelling ‘get him!’ on the video. When the line is broken, Rau and Jancart start screaming, ‘go, go, go!’ and ‘they just pushed through the guards!'”

“Rau’s conduct on January 6 was more egregious than Jancart’s … although Rau’s conduct on January 6 was more egregious than Derek Jancart’s based on the conduct captured in Exhibit 1, his conduct after Derek Jancart’s arrest – both his cooperation with the prosecution and lack of social media postings – is sufficiently mitigating that the government is recommending a sentence of four months’ incarceration for both defendants. “

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