In a recent development, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has recommended a 120-day prison term for conservative journalist Jonathan Owen Shroyer. The DOJ’s sentencing memorandum, filed on Tuesday, alleges that Shroyer played a significant role in the events leading up to January 6, 2021.
Shroyer, a prominent host on the internet streaming program “The War Room” and Alex Jones’ InfoWars, has been a vocal critic of the 2020 election results. The DOJ claims that in the months leading up to January 6, Shroyer disseminated election disinformation to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of viewers. They cite instances where he warned that if Joe Biden became president, there would not be “a million peaceful marchers in D.C.”
While he did not enter the Capitol building, the DOJ argues that his influence was evident as many of those who listened to him did. In the aftermath of the events, Shroyer blamed “Antifa” and expressed pride in the day’s occurrences.
The DOJ’s memorandum states, “Shroyer helped create January 6.” They are requesting the court to sentence him to 120 days of incarceration, 12 months of supervised release, 60 hours of community service, and $500 in restitution.
In December 2019, Shroyer was arrested for disrupting a House Judiciary Committee meeting. In February 2020, he entered into a Community Service Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) which included conditions to stay away from the U.S. Capitol and its grounds. This DPA was still active on January 6, 2021.
In the weeks leading up to January 6, Shroyer’s rhetoric ‘intensified’ according to the DOJ. He was seen addressing crowds in Washington, D.C., urging them to fight for Trump and declaring that “we are the new revolution.” On January 5, he stated that Americans were ready to fight and expressed concerns about the implications if the certification of the election wasn’t halted.
“So, despite all the things that they’ve done to try to destroy our morale, despite all the things they’ve done to gaslight us, confuse us, and try to keep us locked inside, we’re here more powerful, more loud, and we’re fightin’ mad,” Shoyer said on January 5, according to the memorandum.
The DOJ wrote:
“On the November 18, 2020 broadcast of InfoWars, when talking about the Democrats who have ‘stolen your country,’ Shroyer stated that ‘maybe you deserve what’s coming.’ November 18, 2020 InfoWars broadcast, at 01:30 minutes. He added, ‘But let me tell you: if you steal this election from us and you put in a U.N. communist corrupt criminal Joe Biden in the White House, it’s not going to be a million peaceful marchers in D.C. No, no, no. No, it’s not. No, it’s not.’
Many supporters of Shroyer argue that he was merely exercising his First Amendment rights and that the DOJ’s actions are an overreach. Shroyer’s name is added to the growing list of conservatives arrested for their involvement in January 6th. Last week, Joseph Biggs, a decorated veteran and Purple Heart recipient, was sentenced to 17 years in prison for his role in the January 6 Capitol riot.
These sentences have created concern surround the DOJ’s punishments related to the January 6 events, given Biggs’ military service and the nature of his actions during the riot.
Biggs had been arrested in January 2021 and charged with offenses linked to his participation in the Capitol riot. He had spent roughly 20 minutes inside the Capitol building during the riot. Although the government initially sought a 33-year sentence for him, the judge found the recommendation to be “egregious.”