A New Jersey gym owner and former MMA fighter pleaded guilty on Friday to assaulting a police officer during the January 6 insurrection, marking the first time a Capitol rioter has been convicted of violence against police.
Scott Fairlamb, 44, also pleaded guilty to obstructing an official proceeding. He could face a sentence of more than three years in prison, according to his agreement with prosecutors read at his plea hearing on Friday. He has also agreed to pay $2,000 in restitution for damage done to the Capitol.
The plea is a significant development in the sprawling federal investigation and could set a standard sentence of multiple years in prison for the many rioters facing assault charges. Fairlamb has not yet been sentenced, and the amount of time he serves will be up to the judge.
Body camera footage shows Fairlamb following and taunting officers as they made their way through the mob. At one point, Fairlamb shouts “you have no idea what the f**k you’re doing,” shoves an officer, and then punches the officer in the head, the footage shows. He is among the small group of Capitol riot cases from which CNN and other media outlets have obtained and made public video evidence showing the alleged violence up close, from police perspectives that were captured on body-worn cameras.
Prosecutors also allege that Fairlamb was one of the first rioters inside the Senate side of the building.
During the virtual hearing, Judge Royce Lamberth held up a copy of the plea agreement and asked Fairlamb if the description of his conduct is “what really happened here.”
“Yes sir,” Fairlamb said.
“So you are in fact guilty, is that true” Lamberth asked.
“Yes, your honor” Fairlamb replied.
Second plea deal
Another defendant, Devlyn Thompson, pleaded guilty on Friday to assaulting an officer with a dangerous weapon, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in jail. As part of the plea deal, Thompson will also pay $2,000 in restitution and will write an apology letter to the officer who was the victim of the assault.
According to prosecutors, Thompson spent 13 minutes on the front lines of the face-off between police and the mob in Capitol’s Lower West Terrace tunnel. Thompson allegedly found a police baton on the ground and used it to hit an officer in the wrist in an apparent effort to knock a canister of pepper spray out of the officer’s hand.
In court filings, Thompson’s lawyer said that he wanted to “stop the pepper spray” and did not intend to hurt the officer, but that he recognized the assault was “truly inexcusable.”
The Justice Department has charged more than 560 federal defendants related to the insurrection, during which rioters assaulted about 140 police officers. So far, 32 people have plead guilty to federal charges.
This story has been updated with additional details.