Moments earlier, US District Judge Paul Friedman revoked Vitali GossJankowski’s pre-sentencing release from prison after prosecutors revealed he had sent intimidating messages to law enforcement. The judge ordered US Marshals to take him into immediate custody.
GossJankowski – a former Gallaudet University football player who stands at roughly 6’3” – then tried to escape the federal courthouse, pushing his way through several officers, throwing them to the ground, and dragging them behind him as he reached the door, according to CBS News and WUSA9.
He crashed into a nearby podium and tables, sending a computer to the floor, while officers rushed to the scene and eventually wrapped arms around him.
The dramatic scene at the E Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse is among the first acts of in-court violence surrounding the hundreds of cases tied to the attack on the US Capitol on 6 January, 2021.
In March, a jury found GossJankowski guilty of three felony offences and three misdemeanors for his actions on the grounds of the Capitol. GossJankowski was captured on video carrying a Taser while battling police in an hourslong standoff with the mob in the Lower West Terrace tunnel at the Capitol complex.
Throughout his prosecution, “the defendant has repeatedly used his social media to make intimidating statements regarding members of the FBI,” according to federal prosecutors. Those statements include “photographs of locations, vehicles, and individuals associated with the FBI, usually with the defendant’s statements overlayed,” according to a court filing.
Following his conviction, GossJankowski’s “vile and reprehensible” and “deranged and dangerous” conduct included antisemitic and inflammatory messages about law enforcement agents, including messages that shared sealed case files and attempts to “doxx” prosecutors, according to federal prosecutors.
Those “threatening” messages “invite action” from his followers, Judge Friedman said. He determined that his speech constitutes violent incitement that is not protected under the First Amendment.
Nearly 1,200 people have been arrested and charged in connection with the mob’s assault in the halls of Congress in a failed attempt to block the certification of the 2020 presidential election, according to the US Department of Justice.
More than 400 people were charged with assaulting officers and Capitol employees, with more than 100 people charged with wielding a deadly or dangerous weapon.