Online sleuths label Jan. 6 defendant as ‘Conan O’Riot,’ who then pleads guilty

A Capitol rioter, dressed in colonial attire and resembling former late night talk show host Conan O’Brien, pleaded guilty to a charge related to the events of January 6th.

In October, Derek Nelson, a former Marine aged 30, was apprehended in Illinois. His arrest came after being identified by online “sedition hunters” who have been assisting the FBI in numerous cases involving hundreds of defendants.

Nelson admitted to illegally entering and staying in a restricted building, a violation that can result in a maximum prison term of one year. U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols acknowledged Nelson’s guilty plea and scheduled his sentencing hearing for June 13th.

In his plea agreement, Nelson confessed that he dressed in a colonial blue peacoat adorned with gold buttons, along with a tricorn hat, a red shirt, a white neckscarf, black-and-red gloves, and khaki pants on January 6. He also shared that he brought a pink respirator and goggles with him, which he later put on. Furthermore, Nelson acknowledged that he arrived in Washington D.C. fully prepared for the potentiality of violence.

Nelson’s co-defendant, Derek Dodder, still has a pending case against him. Nelson, as part of his plea agreement, revealed that Dodder patted him on the shoulder “in a congratulatory fashion” while they were inside the Capitol and recorded officers below.

Nelson managed to reach the main entrance of the House chamber, which had been vandalized by rioters. Inside the chamber, officers were prepared with their weapons drawn. Representative Troy Nehls, a Trump supporter from Texas, spoke to his fellow supporters through the broken window, expressing his disappointment and shame. He emphasized his 30 years of experience in law enforcement in Texas and stated that he had never witnessed such behavior before.

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Over 1,300 individuals have faced charges related to the attack on the Capitol, leading to over 900 convictions and sentences. These sentences have ranged from short periods of probation to as long as 22 years in federal prison. Furthermore, new arrests are still being made, and ongoing cases are progressing through the court system.

On Friday, a jury found Michael Sparks guilty. Sparks, a Trump supporter who was influenced by the former president’s false claims about the 2020 election, was the first rioter to enter the Capitol building on January 6, 2021.

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