A member of the Trump-incited riot crowd early last year who infamously chased U.S. Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman up a series of stairs near an entrance to the Senate chamber was convicted this week of all the charges he was facing, which included five felonies.
The felony charges included assaulting, resisting, or impeding law enforcement, alongside obstruction of an official proceeding, interfering with a law enforcement officer during a civil disorder, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a dangerous weapon, and disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds with a dangerous weapon. (He had a knife.) Jensen’s sentencing is scheduled for this December. During the riot, Jensen originally thought he was participating in the storming of the White House, according to video footage he filmed of himself that day. “Storm the White House! That’s what we do!” he told his phone. He was ultimately among the first dozen rioters who actually entered the Capitol building. Goodman, meanwhile, has been widely hailed for leading members of the mob including Jensen away from the Senate chamber, which wasn’t fully vacated as of that point.
Jensen could face substantial time in prison. The combined total of the legal maximums in sentencing for the felony charges of which he was convicted is 53 years, although he is almost certain to ultimately face something significantly under that level. Jensen scaled a large wall in his journey into the Capitol, where he stayed for about 40 minutes before initially leaving — although he later reentered. Christopher Davis, a lawyer for Jensen, tried to downplay his client’s actions by crediting “strange things” done to everyday individuals by the pandemic. The pandemic “did very strange things to people” and “apparently, Mr. Jensen was one of them,” he insisted. Most people who went through the pandemic didn’t later participate in storming the Capitol building. During closing arguments, the prosecutor in court on Friday, Hava Arin Levenson Mirell, accused Jensen of using the portion of the mob he led against Goodman as his own back-up, even as the officer initially faced them alone. Jensen was “weaponizing that mob,” she said.
Jensen’s defense lawyer also pointed to his client’s initial confusion about the site of the breach — which, of course, wasn’t actually the White House. The mishap “shows you how confused and how jumbled his head is,” his lawyer told jurors. Goodman testified at Jensen’s trial, which isn’t the first time the officer, who was one of the first confronting rioters inside the building, has testified. At a previous riot trial, he confirmed he was worried about the rampaging mob accessing the nearby Senate chamber. Before his trial, Jensen, who remains in detention after he violated the terms of his release by streaming content from Mike Lindell, unsuccessfully sought a delay to early next year, citing supposedly looming issues including publicity associated with the work of the House riot panel.
“For one, the only source of potential prejudice to Defendant’s right to an impartial jury in September that he identifies is the Select Committee’s hearings, because the trial will be completed well before the mid-term elections and the release of the Select Committee’s report,” federal Judge Timothy Kelly wrote. “And as for the potential prejudice to Defendant flowing from the hearings, if such prejudice in fact exists—a dubious proposition given Defendant’s non-specific assertions on this point—and means that “an impartial jury actually cannot be selected, that fact should become evident at the voir dire.”” He was referring to the process of selecting the jury.