- An accused Capitol rioter told KLAS-TV he believes Donald Trump’s words played a role in the attack.
- “He’s one of the most powerful persons in the world,” Ronald Sandlin told the outlet of Trump.
- Sandlin is accused of carrying a knife during the riot and smoking weed inside the Capitol.
A Tennessee man accused of smoking marijuana inside the US Capitol on January 6 told a local news station that he knew “we took it too far” and that there would be “consequences.”
Ronald “Ronnie” Sandlin, of Memphis Tennessee, faces a slate of charges stemming from his alleged participation in the Capitol attack, including assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers, civil disorder, and physical violence in the Capitol grounds or buildings.
Prosecutors say the 34-year-old attended the “Stop the Steal” rally with his friend Nathan DeGrave and another man, Josiah Colt, who are also both charged in the riot. According to a criminal complaint, Sandlin posted on social media that he had started a GoFundMe to raise money for his trip to DC to attend the rally.
“Who is going to Washington D.C. on the 6th of January?” Sandlin posted on social media before the riot, according to court documents. “I’m going to be there to show support for our president and to do my part to stop the steal and stand behind Trump when he decides to cross the rubicon.”
Investigators said Sandlin and his two compatriots were armed with weapons during the riot, alleging that Sandlin carried a knife, though he did not use it or bring it out during the attack.
In an interview with KLAS-TV’s I-Team earlier this month, Sandlin said the men wanted to make sure they were prepared to defend themselves.
“I’ve worn the MAGA cap outside and have had people spit on me,” Sandlin told the outlet. “We’ve had years where if you support Donald Trump…you could be subject to violence. All of our conversations of, when we talked about violence was, ‘Hey we need to protect ourselves against violence.'”
Authorities arrested Sandlin outside of DeGrave’s Las Vegas home in January. The internet marketer pleaded not guilty to all counts in March, but a federal judge declined to release Sandlin on pre-trial release after federal prosecutors introduced evidence that the defendant had been texting with family and friends from inside his DC jail cell.
“I’m in a cell block with all Capitol people,” Sandlin texted on March 30, according to court documents “I’m proud to call them my friends we stood up for what we believed in and sacrificed. I’m looking forward to being a free man again and hopping on my motorcycle and riding off into the sunset far away from people and their machinations.”
In his interview with the I-Team, Sandlin said he has spent most of his time in jail alone in his cell and described himself as a political prisoner.
“We should never allow this to happen to an American citizen again,” he told the outlet.
Still, the defendant seemed to acknowledge his role in the riot.
“I knew we took it too far. I knew that there would be consequences,” Sandlin said.
Sandlin told the outlet he traveled to DC because he believed there had been massive voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election — a baseless assertion that election experts have debunked, but which Trump continues to propagate.
“He’s one of the most powerful persons in the world,” Sandlin told KLAS-TV.
An attorney for Sandlin did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.