A Capitol rioter who captured Ashli Babbitt’s death on video became the 20th person to plead guilty for his involvement in the deadly January 6 insurrection.
Andrew Bennett of Maryland pleaded guilty Thursday in DC District Court to illegally demonstrating inside the US Capitol. He got the same deal as other nonviolent rioters pleading to a single misdemeanor – including paying $500 in restitution for damage to the Capitol building and giving investigators access to his social media data.
The charge has a potential maximum of six months in jail, though Bennett may be ordered to serve much less, or even no jail time, when he is sentenced in October. Three rioters have been sentenced so far, two of whom received jail time.
Bennett was wearing a hat with a Proud Boys motto on it during the riot, prosecutors say. However, there is no indication that Bennett marched with the Proud Boys to the Capitol, or was with them when they overpowered the police line, or that he entered the building with any members of the far-right group.
As part of the plea, Bennett acknowledged that he tried to contact a Maryland chapter of the Proud Boys about becoming a member. But prosecutors said in a court filing that they “did not find evidence that Bennett is a member of or associate of any organized chapter of the Proud Boys.”
Investigators received a tip the day of the riot claiming that Bennett had been livestreaming video on Facebook from inside the Capitol. In the videos, according to court filings, Bennett yells “No destruction!” at other rioters kicking a door inside the building. But later, prosecutors say, Bennett taped himself chanting “Break it down!” near a door located in the Speaker’s Lobby, where Babbitt was shot. A gunshot can be heard on the video.
According to court records, Bennett posted on Facebook days before the riot, “You better be ready chaos is coming,” and “#FIGHTBACK for Lin Wood and his family!,” referring to the conspiracy-theorist lawyer who was involved in longshot legal efforts to overturn the election.
This story has been updated with additional details of the plea agreement.