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Capitol rioter 'got a break' in avoiding felony charge, prosecutor says

Glen Mitchell Simon, formerly of Maine, was sentenced Friday to eight months behind bars for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol Building.

WASHINGTON — A federal judge pressed prosecutors Friday on why a former Maine resident wasn’t before her on a felony charge, noting their own evidence showed he’d entered the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6 seeking to disrupt the joint session of Congress.

Glen Mitchell Simon, now of Jefferson, Georgia, but formerly of Minot, Maine, appeared before D.C. District Court Chief Judge Beryl Howell on Friday for sentencing on a Class “A” misdemeanor count of disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building. Simon had been prepared to plead to a lesser Class “B” misdemeanor count of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building last year before new video was uncovered appearing to show him throwing and object and pushing against a police barricade on Jan. 6.

According to court filings, Simon, who owns a tree cutting business in Georgia, made statements on video that he was looking for Congress on Jan. 6 and, in at least one instance, can be heard encouraging the crowd against police, saying, “Let’s go, let’s make another charge.” Howell said in court Friday the evidence before her was that Simon knew well what Congress was doing that day and wanted to stop the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory. Simon’s attorney said they weren’t disputing those facts.

“Why wasn’t this defendant charged with obstruction when he was looking for Congress?” Howell asked.

Assistant U.S. attorney Barry Kent Disney couldn’t offer an explanation for that.

“He got a break,” Disney said. “I don’t know if I can say any more about it.”

Howell said she was concerned by an interview Simon gave a local newspaper about traveling around the country to provide “backup” at events for police against antifa, and about possible associations with right-wing extremist groups. Disney said the government had no evidence of that, and Simon’s attorney, federal public defender Rebecca Shepard, described Simon’s claims in that interview as “puffery.”

Howell also pointed to Simon’s “volatile rhetoric” as particularly concerning. In videos recorded on his phone, prosecutors said Simon can be heard saying, “This is what a revolution looks like, folks,” and “Gotta show these f***ers we ain’t f***ing around. It’s the only way to get it done. Fear!”

Disney said “fear” was exactly the right word for what Simon was trying to instill in officers, who he referred to as “spineless” and “oath breakers.”

“I kept going back to that picture and looking at the officer’s face,” Disney said of a photograph showing Simon joining a confrontation with police. “The officer looked terrified.”

Simon’s attorney said her client had fallen into a bad place in the summer and later part of 2020 due to an acrimonious divorce and downturn in his business. That, she said, was what ultimately led him to conspiratorial beliefs about the 2020 election and, eventually, the Capitol building. Shephard asked Howell to give Simon a probationary sentence with six months of home detention to allow him to continue to work and repair his relationship with his children. She suggested an especially large amount of community service might be appropriate as well.

Howell, though, thought otherwise.

“This is not the type of individual I want to be sending out into the community,” she said. “He’s demonstrated, significantly, anger and a belief in conspiracies.”

“If I’m tasked with protecting the public from future crimes from this individual, why would I do that?” she added.

Howell ultimately sentenced Simon to eight months in prison, to be followed by a year of supervised release. He will also have to pay a $1,000 fine and $500 in restitution for damage done to the Capitol.

We're tracking all of the arrests, charges and investigations into the January 6 assault on the Capitol. Sign up for our Capitol Breach Newsletter here so that you never miss an update.

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