Jan. 6 rioter who used sovereign citizen’s ‘gibberish’ during trial found guilty

WASHINGTON — A Jan. 6 rioter who represented himself in a jury trial and made sovereign citizen arguments that a federal judge called “bullshit” and “gibberish” has been found guilty Tuesday and taken into government custody.

Taylor James Johnatakis, of Washington state, was arrested in February 2021 and was on trial starting last week. After just a few hours of deliberation, a jury found Johntakis guilty Tuesday on counts of obstructing an official proceeding, assaulting officers and civil disorder, as well as four misdemeanor counts.

Judge Royce Lamberth had become frustrated with Johnatakis during a pretrial conference last week that took place the day before jury selection began. Johnatakis has repeatedly said he wants to accept “full responsibility” for the accusations. “I would like to come to a resolution,” Johnatakis said, although he declined to plead guilty to the charges.

Johnatakis “could get a lesser sentence” if he “wasn’t so stubborn,” Lamberth said.

Taylor James Johnatakis pushes police with a metal barrier on January 6, 2021.U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia

“I’m telling you the facts of life. You don’t believe me,” Lamberth said. “When they find you guilty, you will go to prison.”

Once the jury trial began, Johnatakis did not call any witnesses or present a defense.

“I have repented of all my sins,” Johnatakis testified during the trial, saying he had asked Lamberth to “offload” the matter – a common expression among sovereign citizens – since, he said, there was no “controversy” in court.

During the trial, Johnatakis questioned an FBI agent, Michael Kiley, about whether he accepted Johnatakis’ apology for his actions. Kiley responded that it wasn’t his place to accept Johnatakis’ apology. More than 1,200 people have been charged in connection with the Capitol attack, and more than 400 have been sentenced to prison. “Sedition Hunters” online says about 1,000 additional rioters have been identified, but have not yet been arrested.

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