(Washington) Owen Shroyer, host of the far-right site Infowars, was sentenced Tuesday to two months in prison for participating in the riot at the U.S. Capitol, which prosecutors said he “helped to create” by spewing violent rhetoric and broadcasting baseless claims of election fraud to hundreds of thousands of viewers.
Shroyer hosts a daily show called The War Room With Owen Shroyer for the website operated by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Prosecutors said Shroyer used his online platform — and later a megaphone outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 — to amplify lies that Democrats stole the 2020 presidential election from Donald Trump, who was president Republican incumbent.
Shroyer did not enter the Capitol, but he led a march to the building and led rioters in chants near the top of the building’s steps. He is one of the few people charged in the riot who neither entered the building nor accused of violence or destruction.
Shroyer did not need to set foot inside the Capitol because many of his supporters did, prosecutors argued. They said Shroyer spread election disinformation and “thinly veiled calls for violence” on Jan. 6 to Infowars viewers in the weeks leading up to the attack.
“Shroyer helped create January 6,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing.
Prosecutors had sought four months in prison for Shroyer, 34, of Austin, Texas.
In December 2019, Shroyer was arrested in Washington after disrupting a House Judiciary Committee hearing for then-President Trump’s impeachment proceedings. He then agreed to stay away from the Capitol as a condition of an agreement resolving this matter.
He pleaded guilty in June to illegally entering a prohibited area – a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison.
Shroyer, who has worked at Infowars since 2016, said in an affidavit that he accompanied Alex Jones and his security officers to the Capitol grounds on January 6.
“I walked up several steps with Mr. Jones and stood near him as he spoke to the crowd from a bullhorn, urging them to leave the area and behave peacefully,” Shroyer said.
Mr. Jones has not been charged with any crimes related to the January 6 riot.
Outside the Capitol, Shroyer stood before a crowd with a megaphone and shouted, “Democrats pretend to be communists, but we know what they really are: They’re just tyrants, are tyrants. And that is why today, January 6, we declare the death of tyranny! Death to tyrants! “.
After Jan. 6, Shroyer used his show to promote conspiracy theories about the riot, trying to place blame on left-wing “antifa” activists and even the FBI, prosecutors argued. After his arrest, Shroyer raised nearly $250,000 through an online campaign described as his defense fund.
Defense attorney Norm Pattis said Shroyer attended Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally as a reporter who intended to cover the event for his show Infowars. Me Pattis has repeatedly accused prosecutors of trampling on Shroyer’s free speech rights.
Prosecutors argued the First Amendment does not protect the conduct for which Shroyer was charged.
Shroyer is one of two Infowars employees arrested for the Capitol riot. Samuel Montoya, who worked as a video editor for the Alex Jones website, was sentenced in April to four months of house arrest. Montoya entered the Capitol and captured footage of a police officer fatally shooting a rioter, Ashli Babbitt.
More than 1,100 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Capitol riots. More than 650 of them pleaded guilty and more than 600 were sentenced, more than half to prison terms ranging from three days to 22 years.