A Jan. 6 Defendant Could Go Back To Jail After The Government Caught Him Streaming Conspiracy Theory Content
Douglas Jensen was released from jail in July. The government says he violated his release conditions within the month by accessing the internet.
WASHINGTON — Prosecutors want alleged Capitol rioter Douglas Jensen sent back to jail, accusing him in a new filing Thursday night of committing “egregious” violations of his pretrial release conditions not only by repeatedly accessing the internet but also by doing so specifically to watch election fraud conspiracy theory videos.
Jensen had been in jail for months following his arrest in January in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection. He’s accused of leading a mob of rioters who chased US Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman through the Capitol and of carrying a knife in his pocket at the time. In July, however, a judge agreed to release him over the government’s objection, imposing a strict set of conditions that Jensen had to follow if he wanted to go home.
Those conditions included a prohibition on using devices with internet access, including cell phones. But according to the government, 30 days after he was released from jail, a court officer assigned to check on him arrived at his house and found Jensen in his garage listening to news on a WiFi-connected iPhone through the video platform Rumble. The government didn’t say what exactly Jensen was listening to but included a link to a Washington Post article that described how the site was popular among conservatives.
More than that, though, the government described how Jensen also eventually admitted to the pretrial services officer that he’d spent two days watching a “cyber symposium” hosted by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, one of the most prominent and prolific proponents of the election fraud conspiracy theories and lies that fueled the Jan. 6 riots.
Jensen was a self-described follower of the QAnon collective delusion, a fact that the government focused on in arguing to keep him behind bars. His lawyer had countered that Jensen realized the error of his ways after six months in jail, writing in June that “he feels deceived, recognizing that he bought into a pack of lies.”
The government said that the violation of his release conditions so soon after he’d left jail was proof that those earlier representations to the court were bogus, and that Jensen couldn’t be trusted to comply with court orders going forward.
“Jensen’s swift violation confirms what the Government and this Court suspected all along: that Jensen’s alleged disavowal of QAnon was just an act; that his alleged epiphany inside the D.C. Jail was merely self-advocacy; and that, at the end of the day, Jensen will not abandon the misguided theories and beliefs that led him to menacingly chase U.S. Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman up the Senate staircase on January 6, 2021,” Assistant US Attorney Hava Mirell wrote.
The fact that Jensen was watching Lindell’s symposium, which focused on promoting and bolstering voter fraud falsehoods and conspiracies, made the violations especially “egregious” in the government’s eyes.
“He has proven that not even six months in jail will deter him from returning to the conspiracy theories that led him to commit an assault against a federal officer on January 6, 2021. Contrary to what Jensen claimed at his bond hearing, he is still very much bought into QAnon’s ‘pack of lies,’” Mirell wrote.
The final problem for Jensen, the government said, is that his wife had agreed to serve as his third-party custodian and make sure he was following the rules. Not only did Jensen have access to an internet-connected device, the prosecutor wrote, but he also told the pretrial services officer that his wife had left the news on for him when she went to work the day that the officer found him in the garage — proof that she was an “unsuitable and untrustworthy custodian.” Absent an alternative, there was simply no one the court could trust to supervise him, Mirell wrote.
A lawyer for Jensen did not immediately return a request for comment. He is due to file a response early next week.