The West Virginia lawmaker will not resign, although he faces pressure to do so after posting a video of him joining the crowd in an assault on the US Capitol on Wednesday, his lawyer said.
State Delegate Derrick Evans, a Republican, “did not commit a crime that day,” wrote his attorney, John H. Brian, according to Lewisberg’s WVNS-TV.
“On the contrary,” Brian said, “he was exercising his constitutionally protected rights to take part in a peaceful protest and to round up the events that took place. He would help him exercise those rights against commentators or public officials seeking revenge against his political an expression or which further belittles his name by claiming that he was part of that separate group which took part in heinous acts of violence and destruction of property that day. “
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A mobile phone recording of part of the already deleted video shows Evans wearing a helmet in the middle of a screaming crowd that entered the Capitol.
Evans lingered in the Capitol Rotunda – which is lined with paintings and artifacts and has historically been used as a resting place for prominent deceased US leaders – and shouted at the others, “No vandalism!”
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The incident, which delayed a joint session of Congress to verify the votes of the Electoral College in the presidential election, forced lawmakers to flee the Senate floor and take refuge, causing a torrent of building damage and leaving at least four people dead and dozens more. – including law enforcement officers – wounded.
Speaker of the House of Delegates of West Virginia, Republican Roger Hanshaw, said Evans “should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
A House spokesman, Jared Hunt, told the Associated Press that Hanshaw was still “gathering as much information as possible about what had happened and would assess all potential consequences once the situation was understood.”
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In a statement, Hanshaw said he had not yet spoken to Evans.
Evans, who is part of Wayne County, said in a statement on Facebook after the incident that he was returning to West Virginia and “was just there as an independent member of the media to film the story.”
Democrats in West Virginia have called for Evans to leave and prosecute, saying he should be “held accountable” for his role in the Capitol attack, WVNS reported.
David Aaro and The Associated Press of Fox News contributed to this report.