WASHINGTON — An Arizona man has built a brand off calling the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol a “psyop,” prosecutors said Thursday, even as he awaits sentencing on a misdemeanor charge.
Micajah Jackson, of Phoenix, pleaded guilty in November to one count of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building. It’s a Class “B” misdemeanor that has resulted in probationary sentences for dozens of Capitol riot defendants with no criminal record.
But Jackson, prosecutors told U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss, warrants more than probation. In a sentencing memo and at a hearing Thursday, assistant U.S. attorney Sean Murphy asked Moss to sentence Jackson to 60 days in jail, to be followed by a three years of supervised release.
Murphy said Jackson, a Marine Corps veteran, marched to the U.S. Capitol Building with dozens of Proud Boys – although Jackson has denied he’s a member of the group – and entered the building just eight minutes after the first breach at the Senate Wing Door. Murphy said Jackson filmed another rioter entering through a broken window and was just feet away from other rioters shouting “vile and violent rhetoric.” He only left the building, Murphy said, when policed deployed chemical irritants near him.
More troubling, Murphy told Moss, was Jackson’s consistent and continual statements downplaying the riot and his own involvement – even after he’d pleaded guilty. In an interview on Jan. 24, Jackson called the riot a “psyop” and “the Washington Massacre” and blamed the violence at the Capitol on police and antifa.
“Instead, all available evidence shows Jackson at the vanguard of a mob, shouting at law enforcement officers and witnessing violence being perpetrated against them as they attempt to defend the public servants within,” he wrote in a sentencing memo. “Then, taking advantage of the violence of the crowd surrounding him, Jackson continues to advance further into the United States Capitol Building.”
Jackson has also continued appearing at events with Proud Boys, even though his attorney said Thursday he “has never subscribed to their ideology,” and referring to himself and other Jan. 6 defendants as “martyrs.” In a video posted in January, Jackson appeared to confront another right-wing activist alleged to have been at the riot and implied he was an FBI informant.
As recently as 12 hours before his sentencing hearing, Jackson was posting on Twitter that he was being “persecuted” by the government.
“The sheer volume of what the defendant has said, and continues to say on a near-daily basis, is frankly overwhelming,” Murphy said. “This has become his brand. This bas become his springboard to notoriety.”
Jackson’s attorney, Maria Jacob, told Moss she was concerned the Justice Department was straying too far into trying to penalize him for protected speech – which Murphy denied – and said she was concerned the government’s recommended 60-day sentence would “major setbacks” in his mental health treatment and could potentially cause him to lose his VA benefits.
As to his many, many posts and interviews suggesting the riot was a “psyop” or that he was being unfairly targeted by the government, Jacob said Moss should read that as Jackson simply being “passionate about politics.”
“[The posts] are not an indication that he has not accepted responsibility as he never downplays what he did nor condones the violence that occurred,” Jacob wrote in her sentencing memo.
Jacob urged Moss to give her client a probationary sentence to allow him to continue the progress she said he’s made.
“I just don’t see how a 60-day sentence would serve the goals here,” she said. “He has been going to counseling. He has been pursuing education. So if the goal is deterrence here, I think probation would be far more effective than jail time.”
Moss said he found it “very hard to reconcile” Jackson’s social media posts and interviews with his statements of contrition in court. Moss asked for some time to consider the issue, and reset Jackson’s sentencing hearing for March 24 at 9:30 a.m.
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