A Coronado man pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal misdemeanor count for taking part in the breach of the U.S. Capitol building on Jan 6.
Jeffrey Alexander Smith entered his plea Thursday to a misdemeanor count of parading, demonstrating and picketing in a capitol building, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington D.C. He is slated to be sentenced Jan. 21 during a remote hearing.
Smith was arrested a few weeks after the Jan. 6 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 an effort to halt the certification of the Nov. 3 presidential election.
According to court documents, the FBI received a tip one day after the insurrection from a person “who has known Smith for an extended period of time.” That person found a photo on Instagram of Smith inside the Capitol, with his cell phone raised in the air and wearing a Donald Trump baseball cap.
Smith also showed the witness a video he recorded of himself walking into the Capitol on Jan. 6. The witness could not find any other pictures that Smith posted online because he closed his Instagram account a few days after the Capitol breach, court documents say.
Smith later told an FBI agent that he deleted his Instagram account because he had received threats over his presence at the Capitol.
The FBI received another tip from a second witness, who said they grew up with Smith in Coronado. That person had screenshots of text messages from Smith, which read “I’m a Patriot” and “I stormed the capital.”
In the text messages, Smith also 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 capital building.”
According to court documents, an FBI agent called Smith, who admitted driving to Washington, D.C., to attend a “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the Capitol breach at which Trump spoke to supporters.
He also admitted walking into the Capitol through doors that were already open, where he said he remained for about 30 minutes, according to the agent.
According to his plea agreement, he and others moved iron benches that were in front of closed doors in the U.S. Capitol building. Smith then tried to open the doors, but was unable to do so, the document states.
–City News Service