Alleged ‘Antifa supporter’ sentenced to prison for violence at San Diego pro-Trump rally
A person prosecutors described as a supporter of anti-fascist groups was sentenced Thursday to four years in prison for being involved in a string of attacks in January 2021 during a San Diego rally organized by supporters of then-President Trump.
Nikki Hubbard, 38, pleaded guilty Sept. 28 in San Diego Superior Court to conspiracy to riot, unlawful use of pepper spray and assault, and she agreed to the four-year term.
Hubbard, who is a transgender woman, has also used the name Nikki Yach. She is identified in court records by another name that the San Diego Union-Tribune is not using in this story because it is not used by Hubbard.
Hubbard also was sentenced in a separate case to eight months in custody after admitting that in October 2020 she violated a law that prohibits felons from entering the grounds of a state prison without the warden’s consent.
She received credit for a year and nine months in custody.
Hubbard was one of 11 defendants indicted in June on 29 felony charges, including conspiracy to riot and assault-related charges. Prosecutors alleged that the defendants — whom they described as “Antifa supporters” — came from the Los Angeles area and across San Diego County to counter the pro-Trump “Patriot March” in Pacific Beach on Jan. 9, 2021.
The defendants, dressed in black, with their faces covered, engaged in various attacks, according to prosecutors. Some of the victims were pepper-sprayed. One was assaulted with a stun gun. Another was attacked with a flag pole and wooden lawn chair.
At least seven self-identified anti-fascists face conspiracy charges after being accused of attacking members of a pro-Trump rally in San Diego days after the Capitol riot.
The case is believed to be the first in the nation in which prosecutors filed a conspiracy charge against an anti-fascist group.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies describes “antifa” — a term often used to describe the anti-fascist movement — as a “decentralized network of far-left militants who oppose what they believe are fascist, racist, or otherwise right-wing extremists” and whose adherents “frequently blend anarchist and communist views.”
The charges in San Diego County drew scrutiny and criticism because reporters and bystanders documented violence carried out by participants in the pro-Trump rally as well as counterprotesters, but no one in the group of Trump supporters was charged.
The rally occurred just three days after Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. At least five participants in the Pacific Beach rally were present during the attack on the Capitol, according to the Appeal, a nonprofit news organization with a focus on criminal justice.
“Video evidence analysis shows that overwhelmingly the violence in this incident was perpetrated by the Antifa affiliates and was not a mutual fray with both sides crossing out of lawful First Amendment expression into riot and violence,” the San Diego County district attorney’s office said in a statement in December 2021.
Before Hubbard was sentenced, her husband told the court that she grew up in the foster care system and was once homeless.
“This is political and fascist nonsense,” Hubbard’s husband said of the case.
Democrats supported far-right candidates in Republican primaries in the hope that they’d be easier to beat in the general election. The plan worked.
Outside the courtroom, GG Hubbard said his wife and others she was with went to the rally to protect the community against what she described as a violence-prone group, referring to the pro-Trump organizers.
GG Hubbard also raised concerns about his wife’s placement in county jail, saying she has been held in a men’s cell.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, which runs the jail, said Hubbard is being held in a “safe and secure environment” at the Vista Detention Facility, which houses both men and women.
“We have taken her requests into consideration and have offered individual housing at [the women’s Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility], but she preferred to stay at Vista instead,” the department said.
Hubbard was booked into jail Dec. 30.
In May, Hubbard filed a declaration in support of a lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Department that aims to improve jail conditions, including medical treatment. Hubbard said in the document that she was booked into San Diego Central Jail and that the facility had denied her requests to be housed with women for various reasons, including her height.
Under Senate Bill 132, signed into law in 2020, transgender, nonbinary and intersex inmates at California state prisons have the the right to be housed at either men’s or women’s facilities based on their preference.
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