Prosecutors recommend more than five years in prison for Iowan who led mob on Jan. 6

Trump supporters gesture to U.S. Capitol Police in the hallway outside of the Senate chamber at the Capitol in Washington D.C. The man in the Q sweatshirt was identified as Des Moines’ Doug Jensen, who was later arrested and charged with seven felonies related to the Capitol riots. Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. — AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Doug Jensen of Des Moines is facing more than six years in federal prison for his leading role in the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. In a sentencing memorandum filed in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, federal prosecutors recommended Jensen serve “64 months’ imprisonment, three years of supervised release, $2,000 in restitution and $520 for five felony and two misdemeanor counts” for which Jensen was convicted in September.

Prosecutors noted that 64 months is “the mid-point” in the range recommended by federal sentencing guidelines.

On Sept. 23, Jensen was found guilty on all seven counts he was charged with as a result of his actions on Jan. 6.

The five felony counts are:

• Civil Disorder

• Obstruction of an Official Proceeding

• Assaulting, Resisting or Impeding Certain Officers

• Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building or Grounds with a Deadly or Dangerous Weapon (Jensen had a knife)

• Disorderly and Disrupting Conduct in a Restricted Building or Grounds with a Deadly or Dangerous Weapon

The two misdemeanor counts are:

• Disorderly Conduct in a Capitol Building

• Parading, Demonstrating or Picketing in a Capitol Building

In his closing argument during Jensen’s trial in D.C., the Iowan’s attorney conceded his client did break into the Capitol with the intent “to arrest” Vice President Mike Pence and stop the certification of the 2020 presidential election results, but called Jensen a “terribly confused man on Jan. 6 who believed in QAnon and whose mindset was impacted by the pandemic.” It took the jury four hours to find Jensen guilty on all counts.

Videos and photos of Jensen leading a mob of rioters chasing a Capitol police officer which went viral immediately after order was restored at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Jensen, who was wearing a distinctive QAnon T-shirt, even posted videos and photos on social media, placing himself at the Capitol during the insurrection (although he confused the Capitol with the White House).

“By the time he returned to Des Moines the morning of January 8, Jensen knew he was wanted by the FBI,” the sentencing memorandum said. “After parking his car at home and checking in with his wife, he walked to the Des Moines Police Department to turn himself in.”

At the station, Jensen was questioned by FBI agents. He told the agents he “basically intended on being the poster boy” for the insurrection, and was “trying to give all attention to Q” and “fire up the nation.”

Asked by the agents if he had any regrets about his actions, Jensen said everything he did would have been worth the trouble if the rioters could have forced the Senate to declare Donald Trump the winner of the 2020 election. In the sentencing memorandum, prosecutors cite this interview as part of the evidence that Jensen “has not clearly demonstrated acceptance of responsibility for his offenses.”

The memorandum describes Jensen as “a ringleader in the attack on the U.S. Capitol.”

He scaled a twenty-foot-plus wall so that he could be one of the very first rioters to break into the building and disrupt the proceedings in Congress. He watched as other rioters – using clubs, wooden beams, stolen police shields, and their own bare fists – smashed windows before he jumped through a shattered window himself. He was one of the first ten rioters to enter the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Jensen then “led a mob of armed rioters” in confrontations with Capitol police officers.

“Keep running, motherfucker!” he yelled as he led the rioters chasing Ofc. Eugene Goodman. “He’s one person, we’re thousands.”

One month after the insurrection, Goodman was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor Congress can bestow, for leading Jensen and his followers away from the Senate chamber.

Goodman’s “selfless and quick-thinking actions doubtlessly saved lives and bought security personnel precious time to secure and ultimately evacuate the Senate before the armed mob breached the Chamber,” the resolution awarding the medal stated.

Jensen was finally escorted out of the building by law enforcement officers, but almost immediately returned, the sentencing memorandum explained. He found “another entry point at the Rotunda doors where he breached the building for a second time and had to be physically escorted out of the building.”

As he was being escorted out the second time, Jensen began shouting about the officers touching him.

“He doesn’t have the right to touch me,” he shouted. “You can’t do that. The Constitution!”

Prosecutors cited Jensen’s previous conviction for a violent crime as a reason for requesting the 64-month sentence.

Doug Jensen appears to cause a Capitol Security officer to retreat upstairs during the Jan. 6 insurrection. — video stills, Igor Borbic on Twitter

In 2015, an Iowa court convicted Jensen of domestic assault and disorderly conduct after physically attacking his foster stepfather.

The memorandum also cites “an uncharged physical assault in 2018, uncharged cyber harassment in 2019, and most recently, an August 2022 fight with an inmate at the United States Penitentiary, Lewisburg, for which he was sanctioned.”

Jensen was in Lewisburg, a medium-security federal prison in Pennsylvania where many Jan. 6 defendants are held while awaiting trial in Washington, because his pretrial release had been revoked.

Jensen spent six months in a Washington D.C. jail following his arrest in January 2021. He was then released to home confinement under the supervision of his wife. As part of the condition of his release, he was ordered not to access the internet or use any internet-connected device.

On an inspection visit to the Jensen home, a pretrial services officer found Jensen in his garage using a smartphone to watch a livestreamed conference hosted by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell that promoted false conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.

“Why would he do this?” Jensen’s attorney wrote in a filing arguing that his client should be returned to jail for violating the conditions of his release. “I don’t have a good answer for this, and I don’t think he does either.”

In September 2021, Judge Timothy Kelley revoked Jensen’s home confinement.

Jensen remains in custody as he awaits sentencing. The judge is scheduled to hand down Jensen’s sentence on Friday, Dec. 16.

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