IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Jan. 6 rioter who warned of 'siege' is sentenced to 3 years

George Amos Tenney III, of South Carolina, was the first rioter to open a set of doors to the Capitol Rotunda from inside, allowing others to enter, prosecutors said.

A South Carolina man who had warned of a siege on the U.S. Capitol “if the electoral votes don’t go right” was sentenced to three years in prison in the Jan. 6 attack, prosecutors said Tuesday.

George Amos Tenney III, 36, of Anderson, was sentenced Monday after pleading guilty in June to two federal counts, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia said.

Tenney was among thousands of rioters who stormed into the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and was the first rioter to open a set of doors to the Rotunda from inside, prosecutors said.

The assault on the U.S. Capitol occurred as a mob of then-President Donald Trump supporters attacked the building as Congress was counting the electoral votes affirming Trump's loss.

Around a week earlier, on Feb. 28, Tenney said in a Facebook message: “It’s starting to look like we may siege the capital building and congress if the electoral votes don’t go right,” according to court documents.

George Amos Tenney III.
George Amos Tenney III.Dept. of Justice

Federal public defenders listed as representing Tenney did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday night.

His attorneys argued in a Nov. 27 sentencing memorandum that Tenney is “profoundly remorseful” and that he was misled by the rhetoric of politicians and others, and now knows he was wrong. Tenney lost a good job with Sysco and his life has been upended, they said.

“He realizes now that he and the others in the Capitol that day were merely pawns for ill-intentioned politicians and far-right media personalities,” his lawyers argued ahead of sentencing.

Prosecutors said that Tenney helped others into the Capitol that day, opened a door for them and held it open, and pushed a police officer aside. At one point he allegedly yelled “stand up, patriots!"

The government argued in its own sentencing memo filed Nov. 28 that Tenney “played a key role in exacerbating the attack” and forced open the Rotunda doors for the first time.

Forty-eight rioters then got in and the Rotunda doors became a major entry point that day, prosecutors said in the memo. They asked for four years in prison.

Prosecutors called Tenney "the original instigator of one of the two largest breaches of the Capitol Building that day."

Tenney pleaded guilty in June to interfering with law enforcement officers during a civil disorder and obstruction of an official proceeding, according to the Justice Department.

The pro-Trump mob attacked the Capitol after weeks of false claims about the 2020 presidential election.