Of the cases connected to the January 6, 2021 insurrection and storming of the U.S. Capitol, Brandon Straka's is one of the most prominent. Much of this prominence revolves around Straka having fashioned himself into a media personality with almost 500,000 followers on Twitter. On Monday, after a series of delays, Straka was sentenced. The sentencing hearing was available to the public via a dial-in that at times had more than 400 listeners.
Straka was given no jail time but sentenced to house arrest, probation, and a fine.
Who is Brandon Straka?
Straka is a New York hairstylist who became a media personality after founding what he called the WalkAway Campaign. Through the campaign, Straka encouraged Democrats to "walk away" from the party. According to reports, many of the posts in the hashtag affiliated with the campaign were done by Russian bots.
In addition, Straka was kicked off an American Airlines flight over wearing a face mask and was rebuked by Cyndi Lauper when he covered her song "True Colors." An event that he planned to hold at New York's LGBT Community Center was canceled after backlash, and as a result Straka pursued a frivolous lawsuit against his critics. That lawsuit was summarily thrown out of court.
What did Brandon Straka do with the January 6 insurrection?
Straka served as a speaker for an events leading up to the insurrection. In addition, he took part in the storming of the Capitol, which he filmed to be later posted online. During the assault on the building, Straka encouraged the masses to push past police and then later encouraged some to take a policeman's shield. He did not enter the Capitol building.
Straka sent a series of tweets before, during, and after the insurrection that the prosecution (and the judge) viewed as aggravating circumstances.
Did Brandon Straka sign a plea deal about the January 6 insurrection?
Yes, Straka signed a plea deal with prosecutors to provide information about the events of January 6. Though he has denied being an informant in various social media posts, according to his publicly available plea deal, Straka had to provide law enforcement agents with "copies of any social media accounts, postings, videos, or photos" that he still had access to as well as sit for an interview with law enforcement "regarding events in and around January 6, 2021." In exchange for this cooperation, prosecutors agreed to recommend a lighter sentence.
Ahead of his sentencing, Straka's lawyers revealed that he sat for three separate interviews. "During the interviews, the government was focused on establishing an organized conspiracy between [Straka], President Donald J. Trump, and allies of the former president, to disrupt the Joint Session of Congress on January 6," the lawyer wrote. "[Straka] answered all questions truthfully and denied the existence of any such plot."
What was Brandon Straka's final sentence for his part in the January 6 insurrection?
After a series of delays, Brandon Straka was sentenced to three months of home detention wearing a GPS tracker as well as 36 months of probation. He was also ordered to pay $500 in restitution to the architect of the Capitol, a $5,000 fine, and sentenced to community service. The court turned down the prosecution's request for an electronic monitoring condition that would have allowed monitoring of his web browser history.