An 81-year-old Army veteran was sentenced to three years of probation on Tuesday for illegally breaching the US Capitol on January 6.
Gary Wickersham, one of the oldest of more than 700 people facing charges related to the Capitol riot, will also have to pay a $2,000 fine and $500 for damage done to the building.
“Mr. Wickersham, I appreciate what you’ve done here. I think you have led the way for others to recognize that the jig is up,” said federal district Judge Royce Lamberth, 78, who noted that Wickersham is “the first defendant I’ve had that’s older than me in quite some time.”
“There are a lot of people out there that think some magic is going to happen when they go to trial,” Lamberth added. “But when you see these tapes, I don’t know what they are going to try. I wish you didn’t stay there as long as you did, but when you saw what was going on, you left and that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing.”
Lamberth also sentenced Wickersham to 90 days home detention. Wickersham’s lawyer argued against any confinement, saying he would not be able to visit his grandkids during his “golden years.”
FBI agents initially identified Wickersham from a text he sent a friend claiming to be inside the Capitol. The agents corroborated the texts through social media and security footage from inside the building that showed Wickersham walking around in a leather jacket and backwards baseball hat.
When interviewed by the agents, Wickersham admitted he went inside the building but claimed he was allowed to do so because he paid taxes. He also claimed that the riot was staged to cast Trump supporters in a bad light, according to court documents, and that police were purposefully unprepared so that Trump supporters could storm the building and subsequently be arrested.
“I regret doing it, I shouldn’t be in there. I think the remarks I made that it was public property, I don’t remember if I said that or not, I still shouldn’t have been in there,” Wickersham said during the hearing, asking for “mercy” from the judge and claiming he originally went to Washington, DC, because “you get bored” sitting at home in old age.
“What I did that day for those 22 minutes, I look at that as a dark blot in comparison to serving my country for three years back in the ’60s,” he said, referring to his Army service.
So far, more than 70 people have been sentenced for their participation in the January 6 riot, 30 of whom have received jail time.