State lawmaker resigns after being charged with entering Capitol during riot
A Republican West Virginia state lawmaker resigned Saturday as he faced charges of entering a restricted area of the U.S. Capitol after he livestreamed himself with rioters.
In a letter, House of Delegates member Derrick Evans notified GOP Gov. Jim Justice of his resignation, effective immediately.
In a statement Saturday, Evans said he took full responsibility for his actions, adding that he deemed it best for him to resign at this point to “focus on my personal situation and those I love.”
“I take full responsibility for my actions,” said Evans, “and deeply regret any hurt, pain or embarrassment I may have caused my family, friends, constituents and fellow West Virginians.”
Ken Kohl, a top deputy federal prosecutor in Washington, announced the case against Evans on a call in which he presented dozens of new charges against people allegedly in the crowd that violently stormed the Capitol on Wednesday.
Evans, 35, appeared before a federal judge in Huntington, W. Va., after being arrested Friday afternoon. If convicted, he faces up to a year and a half in federal prison for two misdemeanors: entering a restricted area and disorderly conduct.
Federal Magistrate Judge Cheryl Eifert released him on his own recognizance. Wearing a hoodie and a face mask, Evans did not answer reporters’ questions as he left the courthouse and quickly got into a vehicle.
A Florida man is charged with allegedly carrying away House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lectern while a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol.
His lawyer, John Bryan, said late Thursday that the lawmaker was acting as an amateur journalist, recording the day’s events when he entered the Capitol and that he was not involved in violence.
Video from television station WSAZ showed FBI agents escorting the handcuffed lawmaker from a home.
“He’s a fine man. And thank you, Mr. Trump, for inviting a riot at the White House,” a woman identifying herself as Evans’ grandmother told reporters as her grandson was being taken into custody.
Legislators from at least seven other states traveled to Washington to back Trump and protest the counting of electoral votes confirming Democrat Joe Biden’s victory.
It’s unknown if any other elected official joined the attack on the Capitol.
The attack on the U.S. Capitol has spurred global concerns about the future of democracy and what lies ahead as alliances are being challenged.
In Tennessee, legislation was introduced Friday that would require state authorities to investigate any resident who participated in Wednesday’s events. The proposal from Democratic state Rep. London Lamar also states that any “seditious and treasonous acts” at the U.S. Capitol by an elected official would constitute grounds for immediate removal.
The legislation comes days after Republican Tennessee state Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver attended the pro-Trump demonstrations, which she described as “epic.” It was unclear if Weaver entered the Capitol.
Evans joined and encouraged a crowd that unlawfully entered the Capitol after days of telling his 30,000 Facebook followers to “Fight for Trump” in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, FBI agent David DiMarco wrote in a criminal complaint.
Before the rush on the Capitol, Evans posted a video in which he said, “They’re making an announcement right now: If Pence betrays us, you better get your mind right because we’re storming that building,” the charging documents state, in reference to Vice President Mike Pence. He then laughs and adds, “I’m just the messenger, so don’t be hating on me.”
In a now-deleted video that was widely shared online, Evans is seen clamoring inside a jam-packed Capitol building doorway, trying with others to push his way inside. He hollers along with other Trump supporters and fist-bumps a law enforcement officer who let them in.
After pushing into the building, video shows, Evans mills around the Capitol Rotunda, where historic paintings depict the republic’s founding, and implores others to not vandalize artwork and busts. Some of the pieces were later vandalized.
“Our house!” Evans yells inside Capitol halls. “I don’t know where we’re going. I’m following the crowd.”
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