A Colorado man prosecutors say was affiliated with the right-wing, anti-government Three Percenters movement pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of assaulting police during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack, admitting that he marched with the Proud Boys, a different far-right group, for several hours before attacking officers.
Robert Gieswein, 26, of Woodland Park, Colo., stood out in that day’s video recordings, carrying a baseball bat and wearing paramilitary gear with a black pouch on his chest that said, “MY MOM THINKS I’M SPECIAL.” He faces an estimated range of 41 to 51 months at sentencing June 9 in a plea deal with prosecutors, who agreed to drop the rest of an 11-count indictment, including four other charges of assaulting police.
In plea papers, Gieswein said that before the attack he gave a media interview in which he said he hoped to keep President Donald Trump in office. He said he marched with Proud Boys for three hours that morning, rushed through a police line at Peace Circle and threw a water bottle at officers guarding the West Plaza. He then sprayed aerosol irritant at two groups of police defending an Upper West Terrace stairway, according to his plea papers.
Gieswein was recorded with the lead group that was the first to breach the building using a riot shield and a piece of lumber. He confronted police guarding the Ohio Clock Corridor outside the Senate chamber, and he helped prevent officers from deploying metal doors that would have sealed off the basement Capitol Visitor Center, he admitted in his plea.
He sprayed two more groups of officers there, he admitted, injuring one and attempting to punch another.
The same prosecutors handling Gieswein’s case are also handling the trial of five Proud Boys leaders on seditious conspiracy and other charges. Government charging papers for that group initially described one of them, Ethan Nordean, as engaging “in a brief exchange” with Gieswein near the Capitol. The papers alleged that Gieswein entered a window that had been smashed by Dominic Pezzola, another defendant in the case.
As Gieswein’s plea was entered Monday morning, Assistant U.S. Attorney Erik Kenerson said in the Proud Boys case that the government no longer planned to refer to video evidence of Gieswein among those of a dozen defendants it alleges the Proud Boys’ leaders used as “tools” to storm the Capitol.
Kenerson did not elaborate. Carmen Hernandez, attorney for another co-defendant, Zachary Rehl, said at the same hearing that Gieswein was invited to march with the Proud Boys by a Kansas member who was an FBI informant, drawing a government objection. Spokeswomen for the U.S. attorney’s office and for the FBI declined to comment. Gieswein’s attorney could not immediately be reached.