Marine Corps veteran and Capitol rioter Mark Leffingwell has pleaded guilty to a single felony count of assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers after he repeatedly punched a police officer at the Capitol back in January. Leffingwell is facing sentencing guidelines that recommend between 24 and 30 months behind bars, and his sentencing is set for February of next year. U.S. Capitol Police Officer Daniel Amendola — who was struck by Leffingwell — detailed how the rioter “attempted to push past me and other officers,” explaining that “[when] he was deterred from advancing further into the building, Leffingwell punched me repeatedly with a closed fist.”
Amendola added that Leffingwell “spontaneously apologized for striking the officer” once in custody. At the time, Leffingwell did not know the officer he’d struck to be the one before him, but Amendola explained that once “told that the officer who Leffingwell had struck was me, Leffingwell apologized for striking me.” One complicating factor is that Leffingwell himself is actually disabled, having sustained a traumatic brain injury while on duty in Iraq. He admitted, however, that he “shouldn’t have hit” the officers. (He struck another officer in addition to Amendola.) Federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is handling Leffingwell’s proceedings, observed that she “think[s] this is going to be a difficult case.” The defendant’s attorney will be assembling documentation related to Leffingwell’s brain injury ahead of his sentencing.
Leffingwell is among hundreds of Trump supporters who have been criminally charged by federal authorities for their roles in the riot, many of whom face charges of assaulting officers. In recent days, another rioter charged with assaulting cops — Jeffrey McKellop — had an attempt to get out of prison ahead of his trial denied. At the Capitol, McKellop struck an officer in the face with a flag pole and then hurled it at them like a spear, leaving the officer with a sizable facial wound in the process. McKellop is a veteran, having served over two decades in the military. He has been held in custody for over seven months, and it’s unclear at this point when his trial might actually take place.