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Ex-CEO of Chicago-area tech firm sentenced for role in Capitol riot

Bradley Rukstales apologized and said he regrets his actions, which prosecutors said included throwing a chair in the direction of Capitol police.
Trump Protest at Capitol
Trump supporters stand on a Capitol Police armored vehicle as others take over the steps of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.Bill Clark / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images file

A Chicago-area man who lost his job as CEO of a tech firm because he participated in the Jan. 6 post-election unrest at the U.S. Capitol was sentenced Friday.

Bradley Rukstales of Inverness, Illinois, was sentenced to 30 days in prison and ordered by U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols to pay $500 in restitution to the Department of the Treasury.

The punishment was guided by a plea agreement. Rukstales pleaded guilty Aug. 31 to one misdemeanor count of demonstrating inside the Capitol.

The deal meant that three other counts, related to allegations Rukstales trespassed and committed crimes on federal property, were dropped, according to a federal sentencing memo filed Nov. 4.

Bradley Rukstales, circled in red, at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Bradley Rukstales, circled in red, at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

In the sentencing memo, prosecutors presented still photos of security video that show a man in a red hat they identified as Rukstales following retreating officers and confronting them after tossing a chair. Officers then dragged Rukstales behind a police line and arrested him.

“Rukstales remained in the thick of that chaos and did not leave,” prosecutors said in the memo.

The next day, Capitol police announced 14 people, including the CEO, had been arrested in the unrest. Rukstales was one 10 people initially charged with unlawful entry.

Rukstales told CBS2 Chicago on Jan. 7 that the rally outside the Capitol the morning before — during which Trump encouraged supporters to “fight harder” — was “great.” But as the chaos unfolded, Rukstales said he found himself amid violence he later condemned.

"I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and I regret my part in that," he said.

Marketing data company Cogensia fired Rukstales the next day, stating that his actions were inconsistent with the company's values.

On Friday, Rukstales tweeted his latest apology.

“I have come to realize the weight of my actions, and immensely regret following others into the Capitol,” Rukstales said. “As a patriotic citizen, I hope and pray that the people of our nation will move forward united by the many commonalities we share.”

Of the more than 650 people charged with federal crimes related to the Jan. 6 riot, more than 120 have pleaded guilty, mostly to misdemeanors.