QUINCY, Ill. -- A couple from Quincy who were among the first to face criminal charges for their role in the Jan. 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol riot were sentenced Tuesday to two years of probation.
Jason and Christina Gerding were arrested on Jan. 28, 2021, just a few weeks after the Capitol riot. They pleaded guilty last January. That's when they admitted they had wrongly entered the Capitol, posed for photographs in the Rotunda, and spent 11 minutes in the building.
But they also admitted that, as they approached the Capitol in January 2021, they discussed the possibility that police might fire tear gas at them. Still, prosecutors say the pair moved forward and chanted "Whose house? Our house."
Christina Gerding denied that she joined in that chant.
The Gerdings were sentenced by U.S. Senior Judge Paul Friedman in Washington, D.C.
In a Facebook message, Jason Gerding confirmed for someone that "lots" of tear gas had been deployed during the riot, federal prosecutors say. He also allegedly sent someone a message at 5:14 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2021 that read, "this is f-ing epic."
In a later interview with the FBI, Jason Gerding allegedly said the couple followed QAnon and that he believed the 2020 election had been stolen, but he denied that he aimed to stop the counting of electoral votes.
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He also allegedly told the FBI that he and his wife believed they were being allowed into the Capitol by law enforcement during the riot. Footage from a GoPro camera shows the Capitol doors opening and officers stepping aside, according to a recent court filing from his defense attorney.
"They're letting us in?" Christina Gerding allegedly said in that video.
"Yes," Jason Gerding allegedly replied.
Jason Gerding told the FBI his wife learned she had been fired from her job when they were on their way back from Washington, D.C., records show. Jason Gerding was also fired from his job shortly after his arrest, according to his defense attorney.
Still, Jason Gerding allegedly told the FBI he was not sure he would do anything differently.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire - Copyright Chicago Sun-Times 2023.)