Judge Slaps Top Jan 6 Defendant With Largest Sentence yet

OPINION:  This article contains commentary which may reflect the author’s opinion

The congressional committee holding hearings on the events at the capitol on Jan 6 2021 has been steadily working through all the cases of those accused of wrongdoing that day.

The Justice Department has arrested more than 850 people for charges related to the assault at the Capitol, including more than 260 who have been charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.

The hearings have been ongoing since early summer 2022 and are investigating the accusations surrounding the Jan 6 events at the Capitol, with a focus on Trump supporters and former president Donald Trump himself.

The investigation into the events has been ongoing since Jan 6, and now the hearings are presenting the information that was found in the investigation.

The hearings have been broadcast, as well, on cable television.

PBS describes ‘hearings’ as “a kind of preemptive justification for specific legal and legislative actions that may follow the investigation.”

The hearings also provide a way to feed information to the public about a situation.

In the case of these federal public hearings, Prosecutors have related the discovered actions of more than one individual.

Previously in October one defendant, Robert Scott Palmer, pleaded guilty to one count of assaulting, resisting or impeding police officers using a dangerous weapon.

In addition to 63 months in prison, he was ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution and also faces 36 months of supervised release after his prison sentence.

At the time, this was the longest sentence handed down to anyone connected with the Jan 6 incident in Washington, D.C.

Palmer was accused of assaulting police officers with a wooden plank and fire extinguisher at the Lower West Terrace tunnel entrance to the Capitol during the attack on Jan 6.

United States District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan noted during the sentencing that “while others also may have disliked the results [of the 2020 election] they did not all storm the U.S. Capitol,” Tampa Bay Times reported.

Now, another one of the recent cases has concluded, and a long sentence handed down as well.

Prosecutors related the accused actions of another man that day.

Federal prosecutors said that on the afternoon of Jan. 6, as the mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters descended upon the Capitol, a man swung a long, thin pole at a U.S. Capitol Police officer responding to the rioters on the building’s West Plaza.

The officer, who was not identified, raised his riot shield above his head to protect himself, and the man struck the shield with his pole, snapping it in two, according to his plea agreement.

The man described was Mark Ponder, age 56 and a resident of Northwest, Washington, D. C.

This was not Ponder’s first brush with the law.

Ponder was previously “convicted of domestic assault before he was convicted in 2007 of robbing a taxi driver and a PNC bank. He was sentenced to 37 months in prison after admitting to forcing a driver and a passenger out of a taxi and stealing the vehicle and entering a PNC bank where he demanded money and walking out with $2,469,” according to Conan Daily.

The prosecutors related that after retreating into the crowd outside the Capitol, Ponder then found a “new, thicker pole colored with red, white and blue stripes,” court filings said, and approached a second Capitol Police officer who also used his riot shield to block the pole.

Several minutes later, Ponder, facing Metropolitan Police Department officers lined on the Capitol’s Upper West Terrace, “wildly” swung the same colored pole at the officers and hit one in the left shoulder, according to the Justice Department.

Ponder was detained by Metropolitan Police officers and told law enforcement, “When our country is being attacked with, like we are, we have a right to fight… that is what the Second Amendment was built on,” according to his plea agreement.

He was ultimately released the afternoon of Jan. 6 and told not to return to the Capitol.

Unfortunately, he did not heed that warning.

But Ponder went back to the Capitol’s Lower West Terrace later in the early evening, “engaging with officers who were trying to clear the area of rioters,” court documents said.

Ultimately, Ponder was taken into custody by police.

Ponder was arrested in March 2021 in Washington and pleaded guilty in April to assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers using a dangerous weapon.

Following his arrest in March 2021, Ponder admitted to FBI agents that he struck at least one officer with the red, white and blue pole and said the assaults were not “personal,” according to his plea agreement.

He also told the agents “the way this country is going, you gonna have to pick a side,” court filings said.

Ponder is now the second person to be sentenced to 63 months in prison — the longest term imposed so far in the ongoing investigation — for actions during the Capitol insurrection.

The Jan 6th hearings are still ongoing, and being broadcast.

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