Out social media influencer Brandon Straka pleaded guilty in a deal with the federal government on Wednesday to disorderly conduct for his participation in the January 6 Capitol riot.
Straka, 44, is a gay former hairstylist from New York who started the #WalkAway social campaign, encouraging people to “walk away” from the Democratic Party.
On January 5, Straka spoke at a pro-Trump rally in Washington, D.C., reported The Washington Post. There, he called on "patriots at Freedom Plaza's "Stop the Steal" rally to “fight back.” The FBI said he also referred to revolution several times.
“We are sending a message to the Democrats, we are not going away, you’ve got a problem!” Straka said.
Several other January 5 rally speakers have also been arrested, however, Straka is the first to plead guilty, according to the Post. The charges were in connection with his actions on the following day.
He admitted in court papers that he recorded himself at the Capitol on January 6 where he told the crowd to take the shield of a riot police officer. He also yelled at another group to get into the building, telling them to “Go! Go!”
He had posted a video of himself at the insurrection, but the video was later removed. Several individuals, however, sent the agency screenshots of Straka’s involvement, according to Nebraska station KETV. Others have recovered and reposted his content.
According to court documents, Straka was arrested in Nebraska in January before he was released with conditions. At the time, it was reported he had been turned in by a member of his own family.
The self-proclaimed "former Democrat" has more than 550,000 followers on Twitter and almost 360,000 followers on Facebook.
D.C. prosecutors dropped the felony charge of impeding police during civil order, and Straka pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge that can be punishable by up to six months in prison, according to the Post. Straka also agreed to submit social media videos and other evidence to authorities as a part of the deal to avoid a lengthy prison sentence — originally he faced up to five years in prison.
According to KETV, he also must pay $500 restitution for damages to the Capitol grounds and a fine up to $5,000.
While Straka admitted his guilt in court, on Facebook, he posted a statement starting with “Dear Patriots.” He thanked his supports for their “heroic patience” as he “navigated the perils” that he is in.
Almost 700 people have been charged in connection to the Capitol insurrection as of late September, according to Insider.