The Bakersfield Californian

Jan. 6 rioters are raking in thousands of dollars in donations. Now the US is coming after their haul


Less than two months after he pleaded guilty to storming the U.S. Capitol, Texas resident Daniel Goodwyn appeared on Tucker Carlson’s then-Fox News show and promoted a website where supporters could donate money to Goodwyn and other rioters whom the site called “political prisoners.”

The Justice Department now wants Goodwyn to give up more than $25,000 he raised — a clawback that is part of a growing effort by the government to prevent rioters from being able to personally profit from participat­ing in the attack that shook the foundation­s of American democracy.

An Associated Press review of court records shows that prosecutor­s in the more than 1,000 criminal cases from Jan. 6, 2021, are increasing­ly asking judges to impose fines on top of prison sentences to offset donations from supporters of the Capitol rioters.

Dozens of defendants have set up online fundraisin­g appeals for help with legal fees, and prosecutor­s acknowledg­e there’s nothing wrong with asking for help for attorney expenses. But the Justice Department has, in some cases, questioned where the money is really going because many of those charged have had government-funded legal representa­tion.

Most of the fundraisin­g efforts appear on GiveSendGo, which bills itself as “The #1 Free Christian Fundraisin­g Site” and has become a haven for Jan. 6 defendants barred from using mainstream crowdfundi­ng sites, including GoFundMe, to raise money. The rioters often proclaim their innocence and portray themselves as victims of government oppression, even as they cut deals to plead guilty and cooperate with prosecutor­s.

Their fundraisin­g success suggests that many people in the United States still view Jan. 6 rioters as patriots and cling to the baseless belief that Democrats stole the 2020 presidenti­al election from Donald Trump. The former president himself has fueled that idea, pledging to pardon rioters if he is elected.

Markus Maly, a Virginia man scheduled to be sentenced next month for assaulting police at the Capitol, raised more than $16,000 from an online campaign that described him as a “January 6 P.O.W.” and asked for money for his family. Prosecutor­s have requested a $16,000plus fine, noting that Maly had a public defender and did not owe any legal fees.

“He should not be able to use his own notoriety gained in the commission of his crimes to ‘capitalize’ on his participat­ion in the Capitol breach in this way,” a prosecutor wrote in court papers.

So far this year, prosecutor­s have sought more than $390,000 in fines against at least 21 riot defendants, in amounts ranging from $450 to more than $71,000, according to the AP’s tally.

Judges have imposed at least $124,127 in fines against 33 riot defendants this year. In the previous two years, judges ordered more than 100 riot defendants to collective­ly pay more than $240,000 in fines.

Separately, judges have ordered hundreds of convicted rioters to pay more than $524,000 in restitutio­n to the government to cover more than $2.8 million in damage to the Capitol and other Jan. 6-related expenses.

More rioters facing the most serious charges and longest prison terms are now being sentenced. They tend to also be the prolific fundraiser­s, which could help explain the recent surge in fines requests.

Earlier this month, the judge who sentenced Nathaniel DeGrave to more than three years in prison also ordered him to pay a $25,000 fine. Prosecutor­s noted that the Nevada resident “incredibly” raised over $120,000 in GiveSendGo fundraisin­g campaigns that referred to him as “Beijing Biden’s political prisoner” in “America’s Gitmo” — a reference to the Guantanamo Bay detention center.

“He did this despite seeking to cooperate with the government and admitting he and his co-conspirato­rs were guilty since at least November 2021,” a prosecutor wrote.

Lawyer William Shipley, who has represente­d DeGrave and more than two dozen other Jan. 6 defendants, said he advises clients to avoid raising money under the auspices of being a political prisoner if they intend to plead guilty.

 ?? JOSE LUIS MAGANA / AP ?? Insurrecti­ons loyal to President Donald Trump rally at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021.
JOSE LUIS MAGANA / AP Insurrecti­ons loyal to President Donald Trump rally at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021.

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