Beverly Hills anti-vaccine doctor pleads guilty in Jan. 6 Capitol riot case
Beverly Hills physician Simone Gold pleaded guilty Thursday to unlawfully entering and remaining in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Gold, a prominent anti-vaccine doctor who has gained notoriety during the COVID-19 pandemic, and an associate, John Herbert Strand, also of Beverly Hills, were indicted in January 2021 on five charges, including obstruction, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds and disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted government building.
Gold said little at Thursday’s hearing before a U.S. District Court judge for the District of Columbia beyond “yes, your honor” and asking him to refer to her as Dr. Gold, rather than Ms. Gold.
Gold pleaded guilty to the entering and remaining in a restricted building charge, a Class A misdemeanor.
Sentencing is scheduled for June 16 and could include up to a year of jail time or probation. Like many of the more than 200 others who have pleaded guilty, Gold was also ordered to pay $500 in restitution to help with the millions of dollars in repairs needed after the riot.
Gold is the founder America’s Frontline Doctors, a right-wing political organization known for spreading misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic. The group, which bills itself as “America’s premier civil liberties group,” gained a following in the summer of 2020 by promoting the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the coronavirus.
Gold spoke at an anti-vaccine rally in Washington on Jan. 5, 2021. Videos of the following day show her among a crowd attempting to push past officers blocking an entrance to the Capitol not normally open to the public.
Other video shows her using a bullhorn to speak to rioters inside the Capitol’s Statuary Hall. Several officers had to intervene before she left about a half an hour after entering the building.
Before her arrest, Gold told a Washington Post reporter, “Where I was, was incredibly peaceful,” and she also said that she had followed others inside thinking it was allowed, according to the affidavit. She added that she now regrets the decision.
Strand, a fashion model who has said he was acting as Gold’s bodyguard and recorded one of the videos of Gold inside the Capitol Rotunda, has until March 10 to accept or reject a plea offer from the government.
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