Florida man who became one of the most recognized Capitol rioters gets jail time

Carli Teproff
Miami Herald (TNS)
A pro-Trump protester carries the lectern of U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi through the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol Building after a pro-Trump mob stormed the building on Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images/TNS)

MIAMI — Adam Johnson became one of the most recognizable faces of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol after a photo of him smiling with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lectern went viral. On Friday, he was sentenced.

Johnson, from Parrish, in Manatee County, will serve 75 days in prison with credit for time served, Senior U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton ruled Friday.

Adam Johnson, who was facing multiple charges, pleaded guilty on Nov. 22 to one count of entering or remaining in any restricted building after accepting a plea deal. The other charges were dismissed.

The father of five boys will be allowed to turn himself in.

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Adam Johnson leaves the Tampa Federal Courthouse in January with attorney David Vigney after appearing in court. (Tiffany Tompkins/Miami Herald/TNS)

“What do you do to send a message to the American public that yes, it’s fine to protest, but it’s totally reprehensible and must be sanctioned if you do something to undermine the fundamental fabric of this country, which is what happened on Jan. 6th of last year,” Walton said. “That’s the hard challenge I have. ... How can you call yourself a good role model for those five boys when you come up and do something like this?”

Johnson is one of more than 750 people who have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to Jan. 6, when thousands of people stormed the Capitol in hopes of blocking the certification of the presidential election. Of the 750 people arrested, more than 235 people were charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Florida leads the nation in the number of arrests.

Soon after the attack, a photo of Johnson surfaced on social media. Manatee County residents began identifying Johnson and tips poured in to the FBI.

In January, nearly a year after the attack, Walton chastised Johnson for his involvement and questioned whether Johnson would do something like that again. At the time, Johnson said he took responsibility for his actions. The judge agreed not to keep Johnson in detention until the sentencing.

On Friday, government prosecutors used several video clips from Jan. 6 that showed Johnson in the Capitol. At one point, Johnson can be heard suggesting to use a statue as a “battering ram,” to break through the doors of the senate chamber.

“I am not trying to shy away from the things I did,” Johnson said, apologizing for his behavior. “I am not trying to shy away from being guilty.”

Walton said he could not just give Johnson probation as his attorney requested because “the fact that you were merely there contributed to what occurred.”

In addition to the 75 days in jail — which will be about 60 with the credit from time he has already served — Johnson will be on probation for a year and have to complete 200 hours of community service. He will also have to pay $500 restitution for his share of the nearly $1.5 million in damage caused at the Capitol, a $5,000 fine.

The work to identify other people involved in the attack continues.

Anyone with any information on the individuals still wanted can call 1-800-CALL-FBI or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.