Feds seeking 5 months imprisonment for ex-Coronado man in Capitol siege case
Federal prosecutors are seeking five months imprisonment for a former Coronado resident who pleaded guilty to taking part in the breach of the U.S. Capitol building on Jan 6, 2021, according to sentencing documents filed Friday.
Jeffrey Alexander Smith, 34, is set to be sentenced Tuesday following his plea to a misdemeanor count of parading, demonstrating and picketing in a capitol building.
The prosecution's sentencing memorandum states that Smith and others moved iron benches that were placed in front of closed doors in the Capitol building. On the other side of the doors were a "mob of rioters" whom Smith was trying to let in, but three police officers intervened, the memorandum states.
Before the officers could move the benches back, prosecutors say another crowd of people started pushing towards the doors, "sandwiching the three officers between the crowd and the doors." Prosecutors say Smith joined the crowd and when the doors were eventually opened, he "gave a victorious fist pump," then directed rioters toward the third level of the Capitol, which houses the galleries for the Senate and House chambers.
Prosecutors say the crowd that entered "included violent members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers who were dressed in full battle gear like they were going to war."
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According to Smith's plea agreement, he admitted to walking into the Capitol through doors that were already open, where he said he remained for about 30 minutes.
The government's sentencing memo says investigators were previously unable to determine where Smith was during that half-hour period, in part because Smith deleted videos and photographs he took while inside the Capitol, "because he believed they were incriminating."
Now, prosecutors say they have ascertained that Smith joined others in antagonizing a group of police officers standing guard "outside an access point to the Office of the Speaker of the House."
At one point, prosecutors say "Smith told the officers to 'stand down,' and warned them, `We're getting in there one way or another."'
A physical altercation soon ensued between the crowd and officers, which left at least one officer injured, though prosecutors say video evidence does not make clear whether Smith personally took part in that altercation.
Smith's defense attorneys, who are seeking a sentence of three years' probation and four months of community service, say his decision to enter the Capitol Building was not pre-planned.
In their memorandum, his attorneys say Smith traveled from the San Diego area to Washington D.C. to hear former President Donald Trump speak, then made an "ill-advised decision to enter the Capitol Building" when "he saw hundreds, if not thousands, of others already inside and the doors to the Capitol Building open."
The memo states Smith "deeply regrets his actions" and that custodial time "is unnecessary to prevent him from ever committing another crime."
Smith was living with his parents in Coronado at the time but has since moved out of state, according to court documents.
He was arrested a few weeks after the siege, with court documents outlining that he was identified via text messages he sent and photos and videos uploaded to social media that depicted him among the throng of rioters who stormed the Capitol.
In text messages to others, officials say Smith wrote: "I'm a Patriot," "I stormed the capital," and stated that he was taking part in the insurrection to send a message that Americans were not "going to take a fraudulent election" and "There is no way in hell I was going to drive 38 hours from San Diego and not walk right through the front of the (Capitol) building."