WASHINGTON, D.C. – A federal prosecutor is seeking a 6½-year prison term for a Haddonfield man convicted of taking part in the January 2021 Capitol riot.
Patrick Stedman, 35, deserves the sentence because he encouraged other rioters to break down the main door of the House Chamber and threatened police officers, says a prosecution sentencing memorandum.
It also says Stedman, a dating and relationship coach for men, used his sizable social media presence to spread misinformation about the 2020 presidential election and to recruit other rioters.
On the night before the Capitol siege, the memorandum says, Stedman told his more than 25,000 Twitter followers: “This is the Second American Revolution. I love you all for being here with me. NOW WE FIGHT!’
Why did insurrection suspect weep?Trial underway for Patrick Stedman, Capitol riot suspect from Haddonfield
But a defense lawyer wants a much shorter sentence for the married father of two young children.
Stedman engaged in no violence or vandalism and exaggerated his actions during the riot, attorney Rocco Cipparone of Mullica Hill says in a rival memorandum.
He asserts Stedman’s punishment will include “a lasting stigma not only from his conviction, but the alienation from one-time friends and even family members.”
And the defense filing points to “restrictions of his freedom, including potentially being on a no-fly list as have many persons charged based on conduct (during the riot).”
Cipparone is requesting a “substantial downward variance” from sentencing guidelines of eight to 14 months, a range proposed by the defense.
The prosecution contends Stedman’s actions warrant more punitive guidelines of 70 to 84 months.
Stedman is to be sentenced Sept. 8 by U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell in Washington, D.C.
Patrick Stedman letter to sentencing judge
In a letter to the judge, Stedman wrote, “Whatever fate you decide for me is appropriate, it matters a lot to me that my family and especially my children have fair warning before any departure.”
He expressed particular concern for his daughter, noting she shares his bed “and it will be very jarring for her to have me next to her one night and gone the next without explanation.”
Patrick Stedman wore Trump-themed Christmas sweater at riot
The prosecution’s memorandum contains multiple photos of Stedman, who wore a red MAGA hat and a green-and-red Christmas sweater with then President Donald Trump’s image and the words “Make X-Mas Great Again.”
It also shows images of rioters recorded on videos made by Stedman both inside and outside the Capitol
The filings gave conflicting views over Stedman’s role in the riot by Trump supporters who occupied the Capitol in an effort to halt congressional certification of President Joe Biden’s election.
In arguing for a stronger sentence, the prosecution memorandum notes Stedman yelled “Let us in!” and “Break it down!” as rioters banged on the main doorway to the House Chambers.
It also notes Stedman confronted police officers inside the Capitol after learning a rioter, Ashli Babitt, had been fatally shot while trying to crawl through a broken window in the door.
“You’re going to shoot your own people, you f—ing scum!” he allegedly shouted. “You killed one of us? You’re done!”
Defense offers a different view of Patrick Stedman’s actions
But the defense memorandum claims “any property damage had already been done by the time Mr. Stedman” shouted encouragement to rioters at the House Chambers doors.
It similarly asserts any interference with an official act of Congress — the most serious charge against Stedman — had occurred before the Haddonfield man entered the Capitol.
And the filing contends Stedman’s angry comments to police “were not a reference to or threats of physical harm.”Instead, he intended his words “as a reference to job loss and prosecution,” the defense filing says.
In another contrast, the prosecution filing notes Stedman — a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Haddonfield Memorial High School — claimed at trial that he believed he had permission to “peacefully protest” inside the Capitol.
It says Stedman texted “we have stormed the capitol” during the riot and allegedly called out, “Hey Nancy!” as he entered the office suite of then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
It also cites the video made by Stedman after leaving the Capitol.
ln that video, the prosecution notes, “Stedman said he was in the ‘first wave’ that ‘climbed up the back part of the Capitol building’ and ‘broke down the doors.'”
The defense filing, however, says Stedman’s account “did not reflect the reality” recorded by surveillance cameras.
It says Stedman was not in the first wave, did not break down doors or windows, and entered the Capitol by walking through an open doorway.
The memorandum also describes Stedman’s actions at the Capitol as “a mistake in his life based on poor judgment and the frenzy of the day involved.”
Stedman was arrested on Jan. 21, 2021, making him the first of among some 17 South Jersey residents to be charged with Capitol-riot offenses. Thirteen of the defendants have admitted guilt or been sentenced.
The longest sentence so far was given to James Rahm Jr., identified by court records as a resident of Atlantic City and Philadelphia. He is free while appealing a one-year term.
Stedman is free pending his sentencing hearing.
In his letter to the judge, Stedman also said he’s changed greatly since the riot.
“If I was then who I am now, I would not have gone to Washington, D.C., and I certainly would have gone nowhere near the Capitol,” he wrote, citing a harmful reliance on social-media contacts instead of in-person conversations during the pandemic.
After his trial, Stedman tweeted, “I feel completely at peace.”
“January 6th was a day of confusion, with high emotions and misunderstandings,” he said. “The question is simply who created that chaos. Who gave the orders to antagonize the crowd? How did it all start, and why?”
But the prosecution filing says Stedman, in his video after leaving the Capitol, contended then Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of Congress would be betraying the country if they certified Biden’s victory.
“It’s f—ing treason, and if Trump doesn’t take action, we’re taking action,” he told his viewers, according to the memorandum.
Jim Walsh is a senior reporter with the Courier-Post, Burlington County Times and The Daily Journal. Email: [email protected].
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