By / March 5, 2024

Cannabis-smoking January 6 Protester Sentenced to 3.5 Years in Prison

Brandon Craig Fellows was sentenced to a total of 42 months in prison for his role in the January 6, 2021, riots in Washington. The man, who breached the United States Capitol building on January 6, 2021, and smoked cannabis on damaged furniture in Senator Jeffrey Merkley’s office, was sentenced on Thursday to 3.5 years in prison.

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Statement from the Department of Justice

The Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a press release on February 29, describing the convicted individual’s sentence. Brandon Craig Fellows, a 29-year-old from Schenectady, New York, was sentenced by District Judge Trevor N. McFadden to 37 months in prison, with an additional five months for contempt of court. In total, Fellows was sentenced to 42 months.

Many people responded to the call to go to Washington shortly after the 2020 elections. “Big protest in D.C. on January 6,” tweeted Donald Trump on December 19, 2020. “Be there, will be wild!” A few weeks later, thousands of supporters gathered at the Capitol building during an event that claimed five lives within 36 hours.

A few days after January 6, 2021, Fellows wrote on social media, “Seeing those frightened congressmen brought me joy. For what they’ve done and are doing to this country, I hope they live in perpetual fear.”

“I have no regrets. I didn’t harm anyone. I didn’t destroy anything,” Fellows told Bloomberg agency five days after entering the Capitol. “Though, yes, I did breach.”

Subsequently, on January 16, 2021, Fellows was arrested by FBI agents in New York. The investigation was conducted by the FBI offices in Washington and New York, in cooperation with the New York State Police, the United States Capitol Police, and the Metropolitan Police Department.

Fellows was convicted on August 31, 2023, for obstructing official proceedings, a felony, and for misdemeanors that included entering and remaining in restricted areas, disorderly conduct, and engaging in disruptive behavior in restricted areas, entering and remaining in certain rooms within the Capitol building, and disorderly conduct within the Capitol building. The DOJ also reports that Fellows mocked two United States Capitol Police officers while inside.

Fellows Movements on January 6

Fellows made and wore a fake beard out of red yarn, donned a knight’s helmet, and sunglasses, and carried a “Trump 2020” flag along with a trash can lid, which he claimed to use as a shield. According to federal court documents, on January 6, 2021, Fellows appeared at the Ellipse, near the National Mall in Washington, to participate in the “Stop the Steal” rally and listen to Donald Trump’s speech.

Fellows followed the massive crowd towards the Capitol building, approaching from the west side and breaking through to the Upper West Terrace. From this position, in front of thousands of people breaching the Capitol on the West Plaza and West Lawn, Fellows posted a video.

“Oh brother, they’re about to gas us,” Fellows is heard saying in the video. “I hear windows breaking.”

Fellows continued to move forward and then filmed/compromised another man breaking the parliament’s doors with a cane.

Fellows entered through a broken window around 14:52 and passed through the Senate Wing Doors, waving the “Trump 2020” flag. Inside, he stood on damaged furniture, further waving the flag. He entered a Congressional conference room, then moved through the hallway to Senator Jeffrey Merkley’s private office.

“I went in, and there’s a bunch of people from Oregon smoking in some room… they were smoking a lot of weed,” he later told a reporter. Fellows was photographed smoking cannabis in Merkley’s office, with his feet stretched out on a desk. He then proceeded to the Crypt and wandered there. Eventually, he left the Capitol around 15:45.

While in the office, Fellows sat in a chair, placed his feet on a conference table, and smoked cannabis. Another riot participant, who was live-streaming, asked Fellows, “What’s your message?” Fellows responded, “Man, oh man, we’re pissed. We took this from the hands of those cops,” which was met with laughter.

The case was handled by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section of the Department of Justice. Valuable support was provided by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York.

To date, over 1,313 individuals have been charged in nearly all 50 states for offenses related to the breach of the United States Capitol, and over 469 individuals have been charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, which is a felony. The investigation is ongoing.

(Featured image from court documents)

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