(Trends Wide) — A New Jersey gym owner and former MMA fighter who punched a police officer during the January 6 riots was sentenced to 41 months in prison on Wednesday, becoming the first agitator convicted of violence against police during the attack.
Scott Fairlamb pleaded guilty in August to assaulting a police officer and obstructing official proceedings. He has been in jail since his arrest in late January and will be credited for the time he has already spent behind bars. Fairlamb was also the first riot defendant to plead guilty to assault.
“It is such a serious crime … an affront to society and the law, to have the Capitol invaded and the government function stopped,” Judge Royce Lamberth said, noting that the assault had struck “the heart of our democracy.”
Fairlamb’s ruling will likely establish a first benchmark on how harshly agitators accused of violence can be punished, and marks the beginning of a new phase of riot cases on the US Capitol, in So far only non-violent defendants have been sentenced, mostly without jail time.
“I sincerely regret my actions that day. I have nothing but regrets,” Fairlamb said in court Wednesday with tears as she asked the judge for “mercy.”
Fairlamb said he had disappointed his family, including his father, who was a veteran, noting that since his arrest he has not spoken with his brother, who is a Secret Service agent, “out of respect for his position and our government.”
“My life turned upside down, and it’s no one’s fault but myself,” he said.
Before sentencing, Lamberth told Fairlamb that he had made the right decision by agreeing to a plea deal. “If you had gone to trial, I don’t think there would have been any jury that would have acquitted you. … You couldn’t have gotten over this.”
Lamberth said other Jan.6 defendants in situations similar to Fairlamb’s “are going to get a lot more” jail time if they go to trial and would do well to follow Fairlamb’s lead and plead guilty.
“The way he hit (the police officer) in the face like that, he’s lucky he wasn’t hurt,” Lamberth said.
Fairlamb was also sentenced to 36 months of supervised release after his time in jail and will have to pay $ 2,000 for damages caused to the Capitol.
Before being escorted out of the room, he gave his wife a kiss, who was sitting in the front row with her sister and mother.
Prosecutors had requested 44 months in prison for Fairlamb, due to his criminal record, to photos he had taken with a “CLOSED AREA” sign outside the Capitol, which prosecutors said showed that Fairlamb knew he was not authorized to enter the building, and messages to a friend that he would “go back” to the Capitol.
Body camera footage shows Fairlamb following and yelling at officers on January 6, at one point yelling, “You have no idea what you are doing.” He then pushed and hit the officer on the head, the footage shows.
Prosecutors contend that Fairlamb was one of the first agitators inside the Senate building. Four days after the attack, Fairlamb allegedly tagged the Rep. Cori Bush, Democrat of Missouri, in an Instagram post and wrote that he “should have set you on fire”, presumably during the attack. The post also contained screenshots of racist and sexist threats against the congresswoman.