A federal judge ruled Friday that a locksmith from Nevada, Missouri, was guilty on all four misdemeanor counts he was facing in the riot two years ago at the nation’s Capitol.
At a hearing in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Judge Royce Lamberth found 34-year-old Isaac S. Yoder guilty of entering and remaining in a restricted building, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building, violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building. The judge set sentencing for Aug. 25 once a pre-sentence investigation is completed.
Yoder, owner of a lock and key business in Nevada, traveled to Washington with family members to attend a rally Jan. 6, 2021, in support of then-President Donald Trump after Trump’s defeat by Joe Biden in the 2020 general election.
At his bench trial in March, Yoder had testified that he was “excited” about answering Trump’s call for people to come to the rally.
He attended wearing colonial attire in the style of George Washington — replete with tricorn hat, overcoat, cravat, pants and boots — a costume he had worn previously in advertising for his business and at a rally in Jefferson City protesting the state’s stay-at-home order early on in the COVID-19 pandemic. He carried an American flag on a pole and wore a scabbard sheathing a metal sword.
According to the judge’s findings issued with his ruling Friday, Yoder did not enter the secured area for the rally due to the items he was carrying but instead separated from his family and went to an area near the Washington Monument where he was photographed posing next to rally participant’s sign that read, among other things, “Trump wins,” a sentiment he had testified that he shared.
After Trump’s speech, Yoder saw the crowd moving toward the Capitol before he rejoined his family members, who were distressed about an altercation taking place between police and rally participants. His brothers mentioned having been hit by rubber bullets and exposed to pepper spray, and informed him that the altercation had taken “bad” turn because “(Vice President Mike) Pence folded.”
According to Yoder’s testimony, he headed toward the Capitol even as many in the crowd were retreating. He claimed not to have seen any signs restricting his presence on the Capitol grounds and walked around the barricades the crowd had broken through and climbed some scaffolding onto the West Front of the building.
He entered the Capitol building through the Senate Wing door at 3:14 p.m. and remained in the building for 20 minutes, according to trial testimony an the judge’s findings.
Although Yoder claimed that it did not occur to him that the public was not permitted to climb the scaffolding that had been put up for the inauguration, that he did not see police and rioters fighting and that when he entered the building police had matters under control, the judge found those claims not to be credible.
In his findings, Lamberth pointed out that Yoder skirted barricades that had been pushed aside and walked past the broken glass and door where he entered, smelled pepper spray and heard a loud beeping noise that the breached door was making.
The judge also cited his actions once he got inside. Yoder had climbed on top of a pile of broken furniture and yelled over the crowd noise: “We’ve been so weak! We’ve lost any kind of credibility because all we ever do is cave. We don’t riot. We don’t do bad things. We keep the law.”
Yoder claimed at trial this was an attempt “to bring order out of chaos” and that he did not condone the behavior of those who were rioting.
But he then entered the Crypt on the first floor of the building and posed for at least one picture there and later told a Newsweek reporter that “most of us out there are on the side of the gun owners” and “if we had collectively gone there to cause trouble, there would have been piles of bodies.” He further told the reporter that he was not worried about possibly being prosecuted for his actions that day and claimed it was the “anarchy in government” that troubled him most.
“Yoder’s words and actions on Jan. 6, 2021, and after make plain that his intent was to protest and disrupt congressional proceedings around the certification of the 2020 presidential election,” the judge wrote.
The judge said his presence “added to the problem of an overwhelmed police force attempting to hold back a flood of rioters, and ultimately, clear the building,” something it took them almost six hours to do.