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Florida man who posed with Pelosi's podium sentenced to 75 days in jail

Adam Johnson, of Parrish, Florida, told a judge he went to D.C. on Jan. 6 because he believed a civil war was coming.

WASHINGTON — A Florida man photographed grinning as he carried Speaker of the House Nany Pelosi’s podium through the Capitol rotunda will serve more than two months behind bars for his role in the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol.

Adam Johnson, of Parrish, Florida, appeared before U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton on Friday morning to be sentenced. He pleaded guilty in November to one class “A” misdemeanor count of entering and remaining in a restricted building.

Prosecutors played videos of Johnson joining in the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol. They told Walton he watched as other rioters crushed police and yelled that a bust of President George Washington should be used as a battering ram. Before taking Pelosi’s podium because he thought it would “make a good prop” for a photo, Johnson attempted to enter her offices, but found them locked.

“He wasn’t a mere tourist,” assistant U.S. attorney Jessica Arco said. “He was part of a mob that, in his own words, was trying to overthrow the government.”

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Johnson’s attorney, Dan Eckhart, painted a different picture of him: a stay-at-home father of five who could have become a doctor but instead chose to focus on his family. Eckhart said Johnson had been ostracized from friends since his arrest and had received death threats over his involvement in the riot. He described him as a “brilliant guy” who had gotten “lost” in the Capitol.

Eckhart also said he was disappointed in the Justice Department’s request for a 90-day sentence for Johnson. He argued a probationary term would be much more appropriate and asked, if Walton thought more was needed, that any incarceration be limited to home detention.

Johnson himself offered a short statement, telling Walton he was “truly apologetic” and that he’d gone to D.C. on Jan. 6 because he believed a civil war was coming. He also said he held no ill will toward Pelosi and that, if he ran into her, he would probably ask for a selfie.

Prior to delivering his sentence, Walton said he too had been thinking about civil war. He encouraged Johnson to read two books, “How Civil Wars Start” and “The Next Civil War.” And he admonished him that his rejection of democracy was the exact sort of thing that could lead to a situation like the one in Ukraine, where Russian President Vladimir Putin this week launched an unprovoked war.

Walton told Johnson he had helped undermine “the fundamental fabric of our country” and that it was “mindboggling” to him that someone with five children and his alleged intelligence would come to Washington to participate in a riot.

“How can you say you’re a good role model for your kids when you do something like this?” Walton asked.

Walton ultimately agreed more with the DOJ’s assessment and sentenced Johnson to 75 days behind bars, a $5,000 fine and 200 hours of community service. Johnson will be required to serve a year under supervision following his release.

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