I-Team: ‘I knew we took it too far,’ accused Capitol rioter arrested in Las Vegas says Trump incited his actions

0
47

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – An accused Capitol rioter arrested weeks after the January 6 riot in Las Vegas said he was caught up in a mafia mentality, adding that former President Donald Trump was among his Actions instigated.

The FBI arrested Ronald “Ronnie” Sandlin on January 29th outside Nathan “Nate” DeGrave’s apartment near the Las Vegas Strip. The FBI was monitoring DeGrave’s apartment and Sandlin’s truck was parked outside, it said in January. DeGrave, who spoke to the I-Team in October, is also charged with his role in the riot.

Almost a year after January 6, Sandlin told the I-Team the protest had gotten out of hand.

“It’s been a really tough year for me,” he said from a Washington prison.

Sandlin, 34, an internet marketer, lived in Las Vegas for several years before moving to Tennessee in 2020 to be closer to family. He said he intended to return to Las Vegas soon after.

Sandlin wrote on social media in January that he was planning to drive from Memphis to Washington. According to court records, a post from Sandlin said he asked for money through a GoFundMe page.

“Who’s going to Washington, DC on January 6th?” Said a post made available to authorities on court documents. “I will be there to support our President and do my part to stop the theft and stand behind Trump if he decides to cross the Rubicon. If you are a patriot I believe it is your duty to be there. “

Sandlin, DeGrave (right), and a third man, Josiah Colt (left), met in Washington on January 6th to attend the President’s Stop the Steal rally.

Sandlin, DeGrave, and a third man, Josiah Colt, met in Washington on January 6th to attend the President’s Stop the Steal rally. Prosecutors said the trio came into the area with guns. Sandlin carried a knife with him during the Capitol riot, but did not use or show it, prosecutors said.

“I was wearing the MAGA hat outside and people spat on me,” said Sandlin. “We have had years when, if you support Donald Trump, you could face violence. All of our conversations when we talked about violence were, ‘Hey, we need to protect ourselves from violence. We have to make sure that we are ready to defend ourselves. ‘”

At some point, Ronald “Ronnie” Sandlin is on the rostrum of the US Senate Chamber. (KLAS)

No community Sandlin is known to have lived in, including Las Vegas, cannot find a record of having voted during the past presidential cycle, the I-Team reported last winter. However, Sandlin told the I-Team that he had cast a ballot.

There is no record of his vote.

Video dated January 6 of Sandlin in the Capitol building. At some point he will be in the stands of the US Senate Chamber. Video evidence shows Sandlin attempting to rip a police officer’s helmet off and open doors to the Senate Chamber, prosecutors said.

Sandlin was also featured on a video smoking weed in the building. On the video he can be heard saying: “The people here smoke weed. Thank you, patriot. We made history here, ”said court records.

Investigators say Ronald “Ronnie” Sandlin was seen smoking marijuana on video in the US Capitol on Jan. 6. (KLAS)

Sandlin also carries a camera. He and DeGrave previously said they were there to document the day and plan to sell the footage.

Judge Dabney Friedrich at a hearing last spring rejected Sandlin’s request for release into his parents’ care while he awaited trial. Friedrich cited government evidence that Sandlin wrote with family and friends from his DC prison cell.

“I’m in a cell block with all Capitol people,” Sandlin wrote on March 30 via text message, court documents say. “I am proud to be able to call them my friends. We stood up for what we believed and sacrificed. I’m looking forward to being a free man again and hopping on my motorcycle and driving into the sunset far away from people and their machinations. “

Sandlin also wrote that he was writing a book about his experience and hoped to turn it into a film.

“I knew we went too far. I knew there would be consequences, ”Sandlin told the I-Team.

Other pieces of evidence brought against him by prosecutors include a 10-minute video that was recorded between the rally and the break-in of the Capitol. In the video, Sandlin, DeGrave, and the third man are eating in a restaurant and discussing their plan.

“I think it is time to take the Capitol. I don’t say that lightly, ”said Sandlin.

Sandlin said he came to Washington in part because of his belief in widespread electoral fraud. Before January 6, leaders from both parties, including then Attorney General Bill Barr, a Republican, said the former president’s fraud allegations were lies.

“I think you know when you say you have to fight for your country, otherwise we have to … [inaudible]that we’re going to the Capitol, I mean he’s one of the most powerful people in the world, “said Sandlin of former President Trump.

“Freedom is paid in blood and tyranny always disguises itself as security,” Sandlin said in the video.

Sandlin told the I-Team that his comments have been taken out of context.

A photo evidence shows Ronald Sandlin inside the US Capitol carrying a camera, prosecutors said. (KLAS)

“It was a political rally,” he said. “There will be a political exaggeration, you know: ‘Give me freedom or give me death.’ We are trapped in the moment. We got caught up in a mafia mentality. “

Sandlin said he believes something could be done to overturn the election by going to the Capitol, possibly by influencing the legislature’s decision to ratify the vote.

“The videos show one thing, but that’s not always the whole truth,” said Sandlin. “If people actually talked to us, I think they would realize that we are normal Americans and have a lot more in common than differences.”

“Who’s going to Washington, DC on January 6th?” Said a post made available to authorities on court documents. “I will be there to support our President and do my part to stop the theft and stand behind Trump if he decides to cross the Rubicon. If you are a patriot, I believe that it is your duty to be there. ”(KLAS)

Sandlin spent the first few months in prison alone in his cell, he said. He describes himself as a political prisoner.

“We should never let this happen to an American citizen again,” he said.

Sandlin faces a dozen January 6-related charges, including assault, resisting or obstruction of certain officers, rioting and obstruction of official process, and aiding and abetting. He has pleaded not guilty.

During a federal court hearing in February, Sandlin asked a judge to “have mercy” on him. The judge found that Sandlin owed $ 500,000 in back taxes.

Five people died in the uprising.

A fundraiser for Sandlin hit 4% of its goal on Friday.

Five people died in the riot, including a Capitol Police officer. The federal prosecutor’s office has so far brought charges against more than 675 people for the violation.