WASHINGTON — A former West Virginia lawmaker charged in the Capitol riot has reached a plea agreement with the government, according to court filings Thursday.
Derrick Evans, who formerly served as a Republican representing West Virginia’s 19th House District, resigned from his seat last January just three days after the assault on the U.S. Capitol Building and the day after he was arrested on four misdemeanor charges.
In charging documents, the Justice Department said Evans can be seen and heard entering the Capitol with the pro-Trump mob on multiple videos posted to his Facebook page in which he identifies himself by name. Prosecutors say Evans encouraged the crowd, at one point saying, “They’re making an announcement right now saying if Pence betrays us you better get your mind right because we’re storming that building.”
Evans was arrested on Jan. 8, 2021. He issued a statement the following day saying he was resigning from his seat in the West Virginia House of Representatives.
“I hope this action I take today can remove any cloud of distraction from the state Legislature, so my colleagues can get to work in earnest building a brighter future for our state. And more importantly, I hope it helps to begin the healing process, so we can all move forward and come together as ‘One Nation, Under God,’” he wrote.
On Thursday, the Justice Department filed a motion asking a federal judge to grant a two-week continuance so prosecutors and Evans can finalize a plea agreement. The filing did not indicate which charge or charges Evans would be pleading guilty to. Given the charges against him, he will face a maximum of either six months or one year in prison.
Evans isn’t the only official charged in connection with the riot. Couy Griffin, the founder of Cowboys for Trump and a county commissioner from Otero County, New Mexico, was arrested last January and indicted on two counts: entering and remaining in a restricted building and disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building. Griffin’s case was scheduled for a bench trial before U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden on March 21.
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