West Virginia delegate Derrick Evans, who was sworn in recently, is now facing federal charges after the mob entered the U.S. Capitol this week, federal law enforcement officials said in a news conference today.
The initial announcement of the allegations against Evans came during a press briefing with current US Attorney Michael Sherwin for the District of Columbia. Federal officials involved in the conversation appear to have learned of the allegations at the time and said more details would be released soon.
“I have just received a message that we have already signed a complaint against a delegate who serves in the West Virginia legislature. He is accused – and, in my opinion, according to the reports, he recorded that he stormed the Capitol – he is accused of entering a restricted area and entering the United States Capitol. This report is also published today. The name of this accused is Derrick Evans. Derrick Evans. “
The charge of entering restricted government buildings is a crime punishable by fines and up to one year in prison. However, the penalty can be significantly increased if “the crime leads to significant bodily harm”
The fee applies to buildings where someone protected by the secret services visits or buildings with an event of national importance.
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., who was among the elected leaders, rushed to a safe spot in the U.S. Capitol this week, saying earlier today that Evans must face the strongest possible accusations.
“I guarantee the FBI will do its job. I don’t know the man. This is a very, very bad judgment. Very bad judgment, “Manchin said today on” 580 live “on WCHS radio.
Evans, a Wayne County Republican who has just been sworn in at the West Virginia House of Delegates, claims he filmed a story and was swept away with the crowd. But his own video shows him shouting “Move! Move!” Move! ”Before passing through the Capitol door as security alarms erupt.
The mob storming the Capitol violated the constitutional obligation to count the votes of the Electoral College and provoked the evacuation of representatives, senators and Vice President Mike Pence. One woman was fatally shot while trying to climb into the cells, three others were killed in “emergency medical situations” and 50 police officers were injured. Capitol police said a police officer died from injuries sustained during the riot.
The FBI’s field office in Washington said Thursday that it is seeking advice and digital media depicting riots and violence in the Capitol and surrounding areas of the United States.
Acting U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Rose issued a statement saying federal agents “will continue to methodically evaluate the evidence, prosecute crimes and make arrests in the coming days and weeks to ensure that those responsible are held accountable.” the law ”.
U.S. Attorney Mike Stewart of Southern West Virginia also said the agents were ready to “impose the rule of law.” “The right to peaceful assembly and demonstration is a fundamental right, but that right does not extend to violence in the name of any cause or purpose,” Stewart said Thursday.
Speaking on Thursday on MetroNews’ Talkline, Manchin spoke in general about criminal sanctions for those in the US Capitol, but specifically mentioned Evans and said A 6-month sentence for a violation would be the minimum penalty.
Manchin went on the radio today, saying Evans had clearly crossed the line to break Congress’ sacred duty.
“I just can’t believe that a person elected a civil servant who takes the same oath that everyone else takes to protect and defend the Constitution will enter the Capitol, an uprising to overthrow a legal procedure we have to do to form our government and our democracy and to keep the republic alive and well, “Manchin said.
Evans, R-Wayne, broadcasts live and then deletes videos from inside the Capitol, but others take screenshots and videos of his original.
The video shows a crowd rising through the Capitol door past security as an alarm erupts repeatedly. When Evans enters an area called the National Statue Hall, he celebrates and declares his own name: “We are! We are! Derrick Evans is in the Capitol! “At another point, he turned the camera over on himself, wearing a motorcycle helmet.
In a Facebook post on his Derrick Evans – activist page, Evans said he was on a bus home to West Virginia after the event and said he acted as an “independent member of the film history media.”
“I want to assure you that I have not had negative interactions with law enforcement, nor have I been involved in any destruction that may have occurred,” he said.
In a statement released Thursday night, Evans’ lawyer made the same argument.
The three-page statement by Union lawyer John H. Brian describes Evans as an activist and “journalist” who documented the day’s events while being swept away in a crowd.
“Given the size of the group entering, Evans had no choice but to enter,” Brian wrote. “Evans continued filming once inside. His footage shows that the public was already in the Capitol when he entered. Evans’s footage shows that no violent behavior took place at that time. The protesters can be seen walking around calmly. “
Evans is a starter for the first time. He ranked first in a two-member district in the last parliamentary elections with 8,227 votes.
Last month, Evans vowed to abide by the constitution. All delegates took this oath: “I solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of West Virginia and faithfully perform the duties of a senator (or delegate) to the best of my ability.”
The legislature will meet next Wednesday for a one-day session to select leadership and set rules.
This is the probable moment for Evans’ proposal to expel Evans from the House of Delegates.
Several of his fellow Republicans, including Delegate Steve Westfall of Jackson County, Ben Quinn of Harrison County and Joshua Higginbotham of Putnam County, have already said that Evans should resign or be forced to leave.
House speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, does not have the unilateral authority to remove a delegate. Earlier today, Hanshaw said he was gathering more information about Evans’ actions in Washington, D.C. Hanshaw said he was horrified by what happened there.
“He will have to answer to his constituents and colleagues about his involvement in what happened,” Hanshaw said earlier this week.
The incoming minority leader in the House, Doug Scaff, issued a statement Thursday afternoon saying Evans should not sit when the legislature meets.
Scaff’s letter to Hanshaw cites Section 24, Section 24 of the West Virginia Constitution, which sets out the legislature’s ability to determine its own rules. This section gives the chambers the freedom to determine the qualifications of the members, without further specifying this.
Scaff also cited an oath taken by delegates to abide by the US Constitution. He said Evans had failed.
“His actions unequivocally disqualify him from holding public office in that state,” Scaff writes, “and make him incapable of being a member of the House of Delegates in West Virginia.”