Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from Washington D.C, United States via Wikimedia Commons

A federal judge gave an accused January 6 Capitol riot suspect a sentence of just 14 days, saying former President Donald Trump, and not the defendant, should be held responsible for the violence.

Prosecutors asked for a 30-day sentence, but United States District Judge Amit Mehta made clear he was giving John Lolos a reduced sentence to draw attention to Trump.

Mehta was appointed to the court in 2014 by Barack Obama and presided over a previous case involving Trump, ruling that Congress could investigate any criminal allegation against him even if the alleged crime occurred before Trump entered office.

“He (Lolos) didn’t purposely come to Washington, D.C., to storm the Capitol,” said Mehta. “The fact remains that he and others were called to Washington, D.C., by an elected official, prompted to walk to the Capitol by an elected official.”

“People like Mr. Lolos were told lies, told falsehoods, told our election was stolen when it clearly was not,” said Mehta. “We’re here today deciding whether Mr. Lolos should spend 30 days in jail when those who created the conditions that led to Mr. Lolos’ conduct, led to the events of Jan. 6 [haven’t been] held to account for their actions and their word.”

“In a sense, Mr. Lolos, I think you were a pawn,” said Mehta. “You were a pawn in a game directed and played by people who should know better. I think that mitigates your conduct.”

Lolos entered the Capitol through a broken window and roamed the building for 45 minutes.  He was kicked off his return flight home for loudly screaming “Trump 2020,” and told the court he was only detained because an undercover officer “displayed traits stereotypical of a homosexual.”  Lolos then tried to tell Mehta he only entered though a broken window because he was trying to get to a “designated protest area.”

Mehta will preside over the conspiracy case against 20 members of the Oath Keepers, accused by prosecutors of coordinating the riot to stop certification of the presidential vote.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Michael Brigham has written for American Action News since the summer of 2019. His areas of expertise include foreign affairs, government, and politics, but regardless of the subject matter, he has a nose and an insatiable appetite for news. In his free time, he enjoys reading nonfiction, watching a mix of comedies and true crime documentaries, and spending time away from the swamp hiking in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.

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