WASHINGTON — A U.S. Capitol riot defendant who described himself as "one of those idiots scaling the wall" on Jan. 6, 2021, was sentenced to 60 days in prison and three years of probation on Thursday.
Judge Carl Nichols sentenced Clifford Meteer, a Tennessee resident who stormed the Capitol in support of former President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Meteer's action were “about average” for a Jan. 6 defendant who has pleaded guilty to a parading charge, but he is “relatively less remorseful” than the others who admitted the misdemeanor offense, Nichols said.
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Ahead of sentencing, federal public defender Benjamin Sharp, who represented Meteer, wrote in a court filing that his client understands he was wrong to enter the Capitol but “still holds certain beliefs about the results of the election."
"I've tried" to convince him that the 2020 election was legitimate, Sharp told Nichols on Thursday.
Meteer mirrored Trump's language and gripes, downplaying the Jan. 6 attack in social media messages prosecutors released in a sentencing memo.
"The democrat stealing the election is the cause of loyal citizens storming the Bastille," Meteer wrote in a Facebook post a day after the attack. “That’s Our house. They don’t get to disregard our vote."
The real "insurrection," he wrote in a message to a friend, "was trying to frame Pres Trump with the collusion delusion," referring to Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia interference in the 2016 election.
“on November 3rd, democrats stole the presidential election," Meteer wrote in another Facebook post on Jan. 14, 2021. "On January 6th, patriots reminded them they will not get away scot free."
Nearly 800 defendants have been arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 attack, hundreds more suspects have been identified to the FBI, and more than 250 defendants have pleaded guilty.