WASHINGTON D.C. — On Tuesday, a Montana man was sentenced in Washington D.C. Federal Court after being convicted of assaulting police and other charges during the January 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Dillon native Isaac Steve Sturgeon, 34, and co-defendant Craig Bingert of Pennsylvania were convicted of more than a half dozen charges in May for actions taken on the grounds of the Capitol.
Tuesday, United States District Judge Royce C. Lamberth sentenced Sturgeon to 6 years in prison with 3 years of supervised release. He must also pay $2,000 in restitution.
According to court documents, Sturgeon attended former president Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally on the morning of Jan. 6, 2021. After listening to President Trump’s speech, Sturgeon marched with the crowd to the U.S. Capitol.
Sturgeon reached the front of the police line at approximately 2:31 p.m. Shortly after, rioters overwhelmed the initial police line. He followed the retreating police up two flights of stairs and was one of the first handful of rioters to approach the police line on the upper terrace.
The Dillon native was captured on an officer's body-worn camera outside the capitol. In the video, he can be seen as part of a group that picked up a metal barricade and shoved it into a group of D.C. Metropolitan police officers.
After the assault, sturgeon remained on the upper terrace filming police being assaulted below and described on social media a police officer being dragged away from the line and assaulted.
The prosecution alleges in one video Stugeon can be heard saying: “The people grabbed one of the cops and drug him down the steps, but they put him inside here to take care of him. Because we love the police, but this is a [expletive] revolution.”
Several hours later as police were clearing the terrace, sturgeon was forcibly removed along with other rioters.
According to evidence presented at the trial, on Jan 26, 2021, Sturgeon texted a friend in law enforcement asking if a warrant had been issued for his arrest, which his friend confirmed.
Messages on Sturgeon’s social media after Jan. 6 that were submitted into evidence included “A revolution never started peacefully” and referring to January 6, “Definitely wild and a little bloody. Needed to happen [prayer hands emoji].”
Sturgeon did not self-surrender and was arrested almost six weeks later on March 6, 2021, at JFK International Airport after being deported from Kenya.
In May, Sturgeon was convicted in a bench trial on the charges of: assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers; obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting; civil disorder; entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds; and engaging in an act of physical violence in the grounds or any of the capitol buildings.
“The defendants have a right to believe whatever they liked about the 2020 Presidential Election, and to voice those opinions,” Lamberth stated in his verdict. “But the First Amendment does not give anyone a right to obstruct or impede Congress by making it impossible for them to do their jobs safely. And it certainly does not give anyone a right to riot, assault police officers, or enter restricted areas.”
So far, eight individuals with direct ties to Montana have been charged with or convicted of alleged crimes at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Six have been convicted or pleaded guilty and two are still awaiting trial.
Founder of the Oath Keepers Stewart Rhodes, a former Montana attorney who has been disbarred, was sentenced to 18 years in prison in May for seditious conspiracy. Joshua and Jerod Hughes of East Helena, some of the first to enter the Capitol on Jan. 6, were each sentenced to more than 3 years in prison.
Two Montana defendants still await trial for alleged action taken in the nation’s capitol on Jan. 6. Hank Muntzer’s trialhas been postponed again until February 2024 following a change of legal representation for the Dillon native. Great Falls native Patrick O’Brien is also awaiting trial after being arrested in January.