- An Oklahoma Capitol riot defendant asked to avoid jail time in a Friday sentencing memo.
- Jerry Ryals said he’s already suffered the loss of his wife, job, and ability to own firearms and vote.
- Prosecutors say Ryals took a video of himself on January 6 talking about “overthrowing” the Capitol.
A Capitol riot defendant’s attorney listed the consequences he says his client has suffered as a result of his participation in the January 6 attack, while petitioning a judge for leniency this week.
Jerry Ryals of Oklahoma pleaded guilty to one count of civil disorder in May and is set to be sentenced next month. He was originally charged with five counts, including obstruction of an official proceeding, entering and remaining, and disorderly conduct. But as the government works to prosecute the more than 900 people arrested in connection with the attack, federal prosecutors have offered some rioters lesser charges in exchange for their guilty pleas.
An attorney for Ryals on Friday filed a sentencing memo requesting no jail time for his crime, instead suggesting a sentence of two years of probation. Federal sentencing guidelines carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison for the charge.
Ryan J. Reilly of NBC News was the first to report on Ryals’ request.
—Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) September 30, 2022
The defendant’s lawyer in court documents painted a picture of his client as a “gentle giant” who was betrayed by former President Donald Trump’s election lies.
“Unlike many others who participated in the January 6th riot, Mr. Ryals had no agenda other than to participate in a peaceful protest,” attorney Jay P. Mykytiuk wrote. “He was unarmed. He did not force his way into the Capitol. He had no physical contact with law enforcement.”
Mykytiuk acknowledged that Ryals “expressed his support” for those who spearheaded the breach of the building, but said he did not “join them at the front.”
Ryals has “already felt the impact” of his involvement in the insurrection, his lawyer argued: He lost his job and became estranged from his wife as a result of the siege. Ryals, who is described as an “avid hunter” will also be barred from owning firearms as a result of his conviction and will no longer be able to vote — “a right he cherished so deeply.”
“Due to the massive publicity and historic nature of the January 6 riot, most people in his community know of his offense, and many have shunned him because of it,” Mykytiuk added.
The lawyer declined to comment on Ryals’ sentencing prospects.
He is not the first January 6 defendant to describe massive personal fallout from the siege. A Texas lawyer earlier this year said he “hit rock bottom” after he lost his fiancée, friends, and job.
Ryals and “two like-minded friends” drove from Oklahoma to Washington, DC, to hear Trump speak at the “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the riot, according to court documents. Ryals took several photos and videos of himself and others at the riot, prosecutors said, including one in which he said “we definitely have enough people to overthrow this bitch.”
“They don’t stand a fucking chance. We got the fucking doors open up there I guess. We’re working our way in slowly but surely,” Ryals said in the video, according to court documents.