A 36-year-old man from Maryland who broadcast live video of the shooting death of Ashli Babbitt during theJanuary 6, pleaded guilty Thursday to an offense for “parade, demonstration or picketing in a building of the Capitol.”
Andrew Bennett has become at least the 21st person to plead guilty in the. The misdemeanor charge carries a maximum penalty of 6 months in prison.
As part of his plea deal, he agreed to pay $ 500 in restitution and promised to allow law enforcement to browse the content of his social media accounts.
According to a statement of facts filed on his first indictment, prosecutors said Bennett streamed on Facebook the moment a law enforcement officer shot him.as she attempted to walk through a broken door in the President’s Lobby outside the House Chamber as lawmakers were evacuated. The Justice Department investigated the shooting and the officer.
While on Capitol Hill, a judge noted Thursday, Bennett could be heard on video urging others not to be destructive, and prosecutors said there was no evidence he was violent at the Capitol.
But according to a document filed when he was indicted, prosecutors said he could also be heard chanting with the crowd, “Break him,” in reference to the door to the President’s lobby where Babbitt was later shot. In one of four videos he posted to Facebook, prosecutors said, a gunshot can be heard.
Pleading guilty, Bennett admitted he wore a hat with the letters “FAFO”, short for a slogan popular among, an extreme right-wing group. Prosecutors said he went to the DC rally alone and the FBI found no evidence that he was a member or associate of a Proud Boys chapter, although they said he had attempted to contact a chapter of the Maryland Proud Boys to apply for membership.
He also admitted that on January 4, he posted on Facebook: “You better be ready, chaos is coming and I will be in Washington on 1/6/2021 to fight for my freedom!”
Prosecutors say prosecutors said Bennett posted “conspiracy theorist” material on his Facebook account before the events of January 6, including references to “#STOPTHESTEAL”.