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Tucker Carlson's Capitol videos are giving Jan. 6 defendants false hope

"So, just keep watching Tucker, keep spreading the truth, keep talking about the corruption, keep sharing," said one conspiracy theorist after she was convicted at trial.
Tucker Carlson speaks during 2022 FOX Nation Patriot Awards on Nov. 17, 2022 in Hollywood, Fla.
Tucker Carlson speaks at the Fox Nation Patriot Awards in Hollywood, Fla., in November Jason Koerner / Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — It took a jury only a few hours to convict Jan. 6 defendant Yvonne St Cyr of six criminal counts Friday. That wasn't terribly surprising: She admitted she was on the Capitol grounds, on the inauguration stage, in the tunnel. She admitted that she pushed back against officers, refusing to move, pushing herself farther and farther toward the Capitol. She succeeded, climbing through a broken window and ending up inside a suite of offices. Hanging out the broken window, she streamed it live on Facebook.

After she left court Friday after her conviction on each count, she fired up the Facebook app and went live on her husband's account.

"Three people on, wonder if they're all the prosecutors!" she commented on the handful of users who tuned in before she filled in her viewers about the outcome. "Guilty on all six counts, not surprised. Not shocked. Honestly, I knew that my justice was not going to come through their corrupt system. I have been advised not to talk about their corrupt system, but you know me! I'm not afraid of anything."

“God’s got my back, and I’m protected,” St Cyr said. So, she thought, did Tucker Carlson, the Fox News host who promoted former President Donald Trump while bashing him in his private text messages.

Sentencing is set for June 9, she told her small audience. "If we ever make it to sentencing. I think the truth will come before then, and their s---'s gonna blow up! So, just keep watching Tucker, keep spreading the truth, keep talking about the corruption, keep sharing, and we will bring the system doooooowwwwn."

Screengrabs from the Facebook of Yvonne Orbin St Cyr.
Screen grabs from Yvonne St Cyr’s Facebook account.Justice Department

St Cyr isn't alone. In motions and on social media, Jan. 6 defendants and their supporters are convinced that a couple of out-of-context clips of security video that Carlson's team aired, along with a database of video that Carlson had access to thanks to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., are going to break their cases open. Some have even suggested the tapes could spring people caught on tape violently assaulting police officers on Jan. 6 from prison.

In a court filing over the weekend, federal prosecutors easily debunked the out-of-context videos that focused on Jacob Chansley, the so-called QAnon Shaman, who was sentenced to more than three years in federal prison and is set to be released this year. Attorneys for another Jan. 6 defendant, Proud Boy Dominic Pezzola, had asked the judge to declare a mistrial because of the video. Prosecutors pointed out that it couldn’t be "shocking" — as lawyers described it — because it was already in their discovery.

"Once tethered to facts and reality, defendant Pezzola’s arguments quickly unravel," prosecutors wrote, adding that "all the footage of Jacob Chansley that aired on Tucker Carlson ... has been produced to these defendants in discovery."

It may not matter, however: Most of Carlson's audience will never see the filing and the broader context and will probably never see the texts in which Carlson and his producer mocked those who propagated what they acknowledged were lies about the 2020 election.

Joseph McBride, an attorney for Jan. 6 defendants — who has said of previous claims that stretched reality that he doesn’t "give a s--- about being wrong" and is instead interested in combatting the narrative about Jan. 6 defendants — told Fox News' Laura Ingraham that his clients would "unequivocally" benefit from the new videos.

Supporting Jan. 6 defendants is quickly becoming a major base issue in the Republican Party. This month, former Fox News host Ed Henry, who joined Real America's Voice TV after he was fired over allegations of sexual misconduct, teamed up with former Trump official Kash Patel to promote a recording of the J6 Prison Choir singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" synched up with audio of Trump. The song shot up the iTunes charts. A vinyl is on sale for $99.99. Trump has promoted it on his social media platform, Truth Social, and bragged about how well it's doing.

Even Republicans who initially condemned the Jan. 6 attack and voted to uphold democracy that day by certifying Joe Biden's Electoral College win are hesitant to say anything to rock the boat. One of the offices in the suite St Cyr entered belonged to one of her own senators, Jim Risch, R-Idaho, who kept quiet for more than two years about the fact that pro-Trump rioters trashed his office. “I don’t do interviews on Jan. 6, but thanks,” Risch said when NBC News asked him about the video of rioters trashing his office.

As she told it on the stand, St Cyr’s radicalization started with the 2014 documentary "Fed Up," which focuses on “Big Sugar” and the impact of processed food on American health.

“If they aren’t telling us the truth about sugar, then what else are they hiding from us?” St Cyr asked on the stand. That’s when she “started researching for myself,” she said, adding that when Covid-19 came along, she believed health restrictions were more about control than about combatting the deadly virus.

“I researched and researched and researched,” St Cyr said. “I believe media is propaganda.”

So when Trump summoned his supporters to Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, St Cyr followed her “commander-in-chief.” She wanted to “be a part of history," she told jurors. And she insisted that she had the right to enter the Capitol, even through a broken window.

"It's our house, and it's our Capitol," she said. Amid the tear gas, she said, she felt a sense of "love" but also that the country was at war.

"I felt like we lost our country. I thought it was over," St Cyr said, explaining why she called for "fresh people" to go into the tunnel, where rioters were battling police.

"I was there for truth," St Cyr said, "and I wanted to know what the truth was."