West Virginia lawmaker Derrick Evans faces federal charges in Capitol siege

A West Virginia state lawmaker who filmed himself storming into the U.S. Capitol along with a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump is now facing federal charges, the U.S. District Attorney’s office for the District of Columbia said Friday.

West Virginia State Delegate Derrick Evans is charged with entering a restricted area, Ken Kohl, principal assistant U.S. Attorney for D.C., said on a press call. 

Evans is among 15 people who have been charged at the federal level so far, including an Arkansas man who was photographed with his feet up on a desk in the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and another man found with 11 Molotov cocktails along with an assault rifle and two handguns in his Alabama-registered truck. The U.S. Attorney’s office has charged 40 others in D.C. Superior Court, officials say.

Evans, a newly elected Republican lawmaker, is facing bipartisan calls for his resignation. But Evans’ lawyer told CBS affiliate WVNS-TV that he would not step down and he “committed no criminal act that day.”

The video Evans posted to social media Wednesday showed him yelling, “We’re here. We’re here. Derrick Evans is in the Capitol.”

In a criminal complaint released Friday, an FBI agent wrote he identified Evans as the person in the live-streamed video by comparing the voice to the lawmaker’s voice in a campaign video. In addition, the agent wrote, “Evans identifies himself by first and last name in the video recording the offense.”

At the beginning of the video, according to the complaint, Evans is seen with a crowd outside a closed 12-foot door yelling “Open the door!” and “Our house!” before the crowd is able to pry it open. Evans is seen entering the building with the crowd, yelling, “We’re in!” and “Let’s go, keep it moving, baby!” 

Once inside, according to the complaint, Evans is seen apparently fist-bumping a Capitol police officer and saying, “We still respect you, all right?” He later yells, “No vandalizing property!”

The complaint says Evans posted a meme to his Facebook account on December 28 with the text, “Fight for Trump. January 6. We’re comin,” and the caption, “Anyone else going to D.C. on Jan. 6?”

He posted another meme on December 30 with an image of Trump and the text, “Take America Back. Be There. Will be Wild. Washington, D.C. Jan 6., 2021” with the caption, “One week from today! Who’s going?”

The complaint says on January 6, Evans posted a video of himself in a crowd outside the Capitol, saying, “They’re making an announcement right now saying that if Pence betrays us, you better get your mind right because we are storming that building.” He then laughs and says, “I’m just the messenger, so don’t be hating on me. I’m just telling you what I’m hearing right now on the ground.”

In a Facebook statement, Evans later said he recorded the events on Wednesday “as an independent member of the media to film history.” He said he did not have negative interactions with law enforcement or engage in property destruction.

The complaint notes that on his Facebook page, Evans identifies himself as a political candidate and not a member of the media. The complaint also includes a charge of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.    

Evans’ lawyer, John Bryan, told The Associated Press said he hadn’t seen the complaint against Evans and couldn’t comment. A reporter for television station WSAZ posted video of Evans being taken into custody outside a home.

The Republican speaker of the West Virginia House of Delegates, Roger Hanshaw, condemned the assault on the Capitol in a Wednesday statement and said Evans “will need to answer to his constituents and colleagues.”

Electoral College Protests-West Virginia
West Virginia House of Delegates member Derrick Evans on December 14, 2020.

Perry Bennett/West Virginia Legislature via AP


“While free speech and peaceful protests are a core value of American society, storming government buildings and participating in a violent intentional disruption of one of our nation’s most fundamental political institutions is a crime that should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Hanshaw wrote.

Speaking to reporters Friday, Steven D’Antuono, assistant director in charge of the FBI Washington field office, said investigators are combing through tips, social media and video to identify more suspects in Wednesday’s siege. The FBI and the Washington Metropolitan Police Department have released a series of photos of people who stormed the Capitol and asked the public to contact them with any information. D’Antuono thanked the public for tips that have already been submitted and vowed, “Make no mistake, our work here is not done.”

“Just because you’ve left the D.C. region, you can still expect a knock on your door if we find out you were part of the criminal activity at the Capitol,” D’Antuono said.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Michael Sherwin said “all options were on the table” when it comes to considering more serious riot or sedition-related charges for those arrested and anyone else who may have been involved with planning the attack. 

When asked whether he would be examining the role of President Trump’s comments to his supporters prior to the assault, Sherwin repeated: “We’re looking at all actors here and anyone that had a role, and if the evidence fits the elements of a crime, they’re going to be charged.” 

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