Republican lawmaker indicted after live resignation from Capitol riot

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A West Virginia state lawmaker resigned on Saturday as he faces charges of entering a restricted area of ​​the U.S. Capitol after being broadcast live with rioters.

In a letter, Republican Del. Derrick Evans has notified Governor Jim Justice of his resignation, effective immediately.

Evans, 35, appeared before a federal judge in Huntington, West Virginia on Friday after being arrested. If convicted, he faces up to a year and a half in federal prison for two felony charges: entering a restricted area and disorderly conduct.

Evans released a statement on Saturday saying he takes full responsibility for his actions, adding that he felt it best for him to step down to “focus on my personal situation and those I love”.

“I take full responsibility for my actions and deeply regret any injury, pain or embarrassment I may have caused to my family, friends, constituents and compatriots in West Virginia,” Evans said.

“I hope that this action I take today can remove any cloud of distraction from the State Legislature, so that my colleagues can seriously work on building a better future for our State. And more importantly, I hope this helps kick-start the healing process, so that we can all move forward and come together as “one nation, under God,” he added. .

In a since-deleted video that has been shared widely online, Evans is seen shouting from inside a blocked Capitol building door, along with others trying to make their way inside. He yells with other loyalists of President Donald Trump and bangs his fist at a law enforcement officer who lets them in.

After entering the building, performing video shows, Evans circled the Capitol Rotunda, where historic paintings depict the founding of the republic, and implored others not to vandalize the artwork and busts. Some rooms were then vandalized.

Evans joined in and encouraged a crowd to illegally enter the Capitol after telling his 30,000 Facebook followers for days to ‘fight for Trump’ in the nation’s capital, FBI agent David DiMarco wrote in a criminal complaint .

Before the rush to the Capitol, Evans posted a video in which he said, “They’re making an announcement right now: if Pence betrays us, you better think twice because we’re storming this building,” said prosecution documents. He laughs and adds, “I’m just the messenger, so don’t hate me. ”

Lawmakers from at least seven other states have traveled to Washington, DC, to support Trump and demonstrate against the electoral vote count confirming Democrat Joe Biden’s victory.

It is not known if another elected official joined the attack on the Capitol.

West Virginia House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, a Republican, has said it’s time to turn the page, move on and heal.

“In announcing his resignation, Delegate Evans said he accepted responsibility for his actions and apologized to those he had injured,” Hanshaw said in a statement. “In this time of hyperbolic and overheated political rage, I think this is a good first step that we all need to take now. ”

Evans lost in the 2016 House of Delegates primaries as a Democrat, finishing sixth out of seven district candidates. He passed on as a libertarian for the 2016 general election, but finished last among five candidates. He switched to the Republican Party for the 2020 election, received 50 percent of the vote in the GOP’s 19th District primary in June, and was the first to win two seats in November with 37 percent of the vote.

Like several other political winners for the first time in the November election in West Virginia, Evans swept away a Democratic rival to win his seat representing Wayne County. The GOP’s high turnout, attributed to Trump’s drawing power, lifted Republicans down in the state and gave Republicans a supermajority in the state.

John Raby and Cuneyt Dil contributed to this report from Charleston, West Virginia.

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