An earlier model of this text said that Jeffrey Alexander Smith had entered a not-guilty plea on Thursday, data that was provided to NBC 7 by the U.S. Legal professional’s Workplace, Southern District of California. That data was incorrect and the article has been edited to replicate that — Ed.
A San Diego County man who allegedly informed a pal he “drove 38 hours” to Washington, D.C., forward of the U.S. Capitol riot was in courtroom on Thursday, accused of involvement within the violent, lethal Jan. 6 riot.
San Diego FBI officers mentioned Coronado resident Jeffrey Alexander Smith was arrested Wednesday morning “for his alleged function within the riot and breach of the Capitol constructing in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021.”
Smith faces misdemeanor costs of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol Grounds and knowingly getting into or remaining in any restricted constructing or grounds with out lawful authority.
Smith remained silent throughout his complete preliminary look on Thursday within the Edward J. Schwartz Federal Constructing downtown. The media was stored in a facet room to view a video feed of Courtroom 4D, the place U.S. Justice of the Peace Decide Bernard Skomal presided. Assistant U.S. Legal professional Robert Miller and Smith’s protection legal professionals — Jonathan Rice and Geoffrey Thorne had been current in courtroom, whereas Smith, sporting a khaki shirt with a white T-shirt beneath it, appeared in actual time by way of a video feed.
Prosecutors started the listening to by asking that Smith be held on $25,000 bail. They then mentioned Smith’s background, telling the decide Smith had served within the Military from 2010-15 and was honorably discharged. Protection attorneys later revealed that Smith had served in Iraq throughout his navy service.
The assistant district lawyer then went on to say the 33-year-old Smith is at present unemployed and lives together with his mother and father in Coronado, and has two younger youngsters together with his spouse, from whom he’s estranged.
The protection made no objection to the quantity of bail requestd,
The prosecutor then knowledgeable the courtroom that Smith’s mother and father had paid for his journey to Washington D.C., the primary week of January and alleged that earlier than getting into the Capitol, Smith had eliminated three benches Capitol Police used as barricades, then compelled open doorways to the Capitol to let rioters contained in the constructing, the place he recorded half-hour and photographs of himself.
Smith, prosecutors alleged, admitted to legislation enforcement that he had dedicated the acts.
Smith is due again in courtroom in San Diego for an identification and removing listening to on Feb. 11 and likewise has a listening to in Washington on Feb. 4, at which he’ll seem remotely. He must journey to Washington, D.C., for extra hearings and, probably, a trial.
The defendant’s attorneys mentioned in courtroom that prosecutors had been informed that Smith’s mother and father would pay for his journey to Washington to seem at trial. The protection additionally made a request for his or her shopper to have the ability to journey to Colorado, informing the courtroom that Smith’s mother and father bought a residence in Colorado Springs — the place his estranged spouse and youngsters reside — and Smith was going to handle the property.
After the dialogue, the decide mentioned he would allow Smith to journey to Colorado as soon as he makes bond.
The FBI confirmed a San Diego man has been arrested in connection to the riot on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. NBC 7’s Marianne Kushi has extra.
Smith’s protection staff then requested for him to be launched in a while Thursday, which the decide mentioned can be permitted if Smith had crammed out the mandatory paperwork in time.
Quickly after that ruling, a consultant for little one providers requested that Smith be launched to dwelling detention, however the decide refused, citing the truth that the fees Smith confronted had been solely misdemeanors.
Baby Companies then went on to argue that there have been firearms current on the Coronado dwelling Smith can be residing in, which might be a violation of his bail and a restraining order. Prosecutors mentioned Smith just lately violated the restraining order, and beneath the phrases of his divorce proceedings together with his spouse, he can not at present personal a firearm. The decide, nevertheless, mentioned Baby Companies must show Smith has entry to the weapons which might be allegedly within the dwelling.
After courtroom, protection lawyer Jonathan Rice mentioned that Smith’s household — his mom and sister attended Thursday’s proceedings — wished he had by no means gone to Washington however that they supported him now.
Rice, who mentioned he can be shocked if his shopper served any jail time, additionally mentioned that Smith entered the Capitol on Jan. 6 as a result of he was “carried away within the second.”
San Diego protection lawyer Marc Carlos, who has 30 years of expertise in federal courtroom, informed NBC 7 that Smith faces a attainable sentence of as much as seven years in jail. Carlos additionally mentioned that if Smith was discovered responsible, he must present regret for his actions for any type of mitigation throughout sentencing, an idea few of the accused rioters have appeared receptive to to date in different courtroom proceedings.
The FBI mentioned Smith spent about half-hour contained in the Capitol constructing alongside different rioters on that chaotic day.
In line with the indictment in opposition to Smith obtained by NBC 7, the FBI was first tipped off on Smith’s alleged involvement on the Capitol riot on Jan. 7.
That day, “Witness-1” – an individual who informed investigators they’d recognized Smith for a very long time – mentioned they’d seen a photograph of Smith contained in the U.S. Capitol constructing posted on social media. Witness-1 informed the FBI the photograph had been posted on an Instagram account.
“The photograph depicts Smith sporting a black jacket and Trump hat, with a purple mobile phone in his proper hand, which is raised within the air,” the indictment mentioned.
Within the photograph, “Trump 2020” flags might be seen waving within the background; rioters are seen standing behind Smith.
On Jan. 10, the FBI interviewed Witness-1, who informed the FBI that on Jan. 9, Smith had proven Witness-1 “a video of himself strolling into the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.”
“Smith had since eliminated his Instagram account and Witness-1 couldn’t discover every other footage Smith posted on-line,” the doc said. “Witness-1 supplied a telephone quantity for Smith.”
Photographs: Professional-Trump Supporters Breach the Capitol Constructing
On Jan. 8, the FBI obtained one other tip about Smith having been a part of the riot.
This time, the indictment mentioned “Witness-2” was an individual who had grown up with Smith in Coronado.
Witness-2 had exchanged messages with Smith by way of Instagram after the Jan. 6 riot.
“Witness-2 supplied display pictures of the messages which included SMITH writing, ‘I am a Patriot,” “I stormed the capital’ (sic),’ ” the indictment states.
In Smith’s message to Witness-2, the FBI mentioned Smith said that his function for rioting on the Capitol was to “ship a message that Individuals [aren’t] going to take a fraudulent election.”
The indictment additionally mentioned Smith wrote this to Witness-2: “There isn’t a manner in hell I used to be going to drive 38 hours from San Diego and never stroll proper by the entrance of the capital (sic) constructing.”
Witness-2 additionally informed the FBI that Smith had deleted his Instagram account after the riot.
On Jan. 12, an FBI particular agent known as Smith. On the telephone, Smith allegedly informed the agent he was driving again to his mother and father’ dwelling in San Diego.
“Smith informed the agent that he drove 38 hours to Washingont, D.C., to attend the speech by President Trump on Jan. 6, 2021,” the indictment states. “Smith mentioned that his girlfriend traveled by air and met him in Washington, D.C. Smith informed his girlfriend to stay on the lodge as an alternative of stepping into all of the chaos on the U.S. Capitol.”
The FBI mentioned Smith informed the particular agent that when he approached the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, “it was a chaotic scene.”
President-elect Joe Biden spoke out on Thursday to sentence the riot on the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, calling it an “unprecedented assault on our democracy…an assault on the rule of legislation.”
The indictment mentioned Smith informed the FBI he heard individuals on loudspeakers, noticed tear gasoline and heard what he thought had been flash bangs going off.
However that didn’t cease Smith from breaching the constructing together with different rioters, in response to the indictment.
“Smith admitted he walked into the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and remained within the Capitol for about half-hour,” the doc states. “Smith admitted to deleting his Instagram account after he started receiving dying threats associated to his involvement within the Capitol occasions.”
San Diego Connections to the US Capitol Riot
FBI officers mentioned that is the primary arrest in San Diego County associated to the continued investigation of the Capitol riot. Many others in Southern California have been arrested in reference to the riot.
One other San Diegan was on the riot was Ashli Babbitt, 35. The Ocean Seaside resident was in Washington, D.C., to protest the election defeat of Donald Trump when she stormed the Capitol alongside different violent Trump supporters.
Babbitt was fatally shot by a U.S. Capitol police officer throughout the riot.
Suzanne Turner, Particular Agent in Cost of FBI’s San Diego Discipline Workplace, mentioned native investigators would proceed to search for anybody linked to the Capitol case. Anybody with ideas can name 800-CALL-FBI or go to the FBI’s website.
Some San Diegans had been a part of the riot on the U.S. Capitol. NBC 7’s Artie Ojeda has extra on their mindset primarily based on their social media posts.
The FBI mentioned the investigation on the U.S. Capitol riot is ongoing.
NBC 7 obtained the indictment in opposition to Smith. You may learn the total doc beneath: