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JT man sentenced in Capitol siege

A Jim Thorpe man who posted selfies of himself inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 received 18 months of probation and a $2,000 fine on Thursday during a sentencing hearing in U.S. District Court in Washington.

Andrew Wrigley, 51, pleaded guilty in September to “parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building, in violation of Title 40.”

According to a sentencing memorandum, the U.S. Attorney’s office for the District of Columbia sought a three-year probationary sentence, including two months of house arrest.

“Wrigley’s participation in a riot that actually succeeded in halting the congressional certification combined with Wrigley’s bragging, celebration, and endorsement of the events on that day, militates against a sentence of straight probation and in favor of a term of home confinement,” Matthew Graves, U.S. attorney, wrote in the memorandum.

Wrigley’s defense attorney, however, argued that he showed no violence or aggression.

“(Wrigley) stepped inside an open doorway for one minute,” attorney Ann Flannery wrote. “He was not involved in planning for the event, nor was he part of any group that organized, instigated or engaged in the violent aspects of the day. He has never before been charged with a crime.”

In fact, Flannery added, Wrigley assisted the Philadelphia police around the time of the riots of June 2020.

“He sincerely regrets his decision to step inside the Capitol on Jan. 6 and respects the legal process that has brought him to sentencing,” she said. “Mr. Wrigley intends to make amends in whatever way the court orders, and to never pass this way again.”

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson issued Wrigley’s sentence on Thursday.

He will also be required to pay $500 restitution for the more than $1.4 million in damage rioters caused during the events at the Capitol.

According to court documents, Wrigley admitted that he traveled to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 and participated in the protest as Congress was certifying the vote count of the Electoral College of the 2020 presidential election.

On Jan. 8, the FBI received screenshots of posts that Wrigley had posted on his Facebook page that showed him at the U.S. Capitol during the protest. The account had been deleted.

Screenshots on Facebook included the following headings:

“At the protest in DC at the capitol building #stopthesteal” and “At the protest in DC. I went inside the capitol building and got tear gassed.”

Graves said Wrigley was one of the first to be charged in the incident. While Wrigley’s early acceptance of guilt should have been considered during sentencing, Graves argued, a period of home confinement would not have been excessive punishment.

“We feel it is appropriate, because Wrigley heard concussive sounds, smelled tear gas and saw officers in riot gear; he entered the Capitol through the Upper West Terrace doors breached by rioters only four minutes earlier; he heard a fire alarm going off in the building and heard rioters leaving as he entered say “they don’t want us here”; and proudly posted about the riot on social media after the event on his Facebook account, which became inaccessible after Jan. 8, 2021,” Graves wrote.

Painting those who participated in the Jan. 6 riot with a single brush stroke, Flannery countered, is “unfair and inaccurate.”

“The government asked the court to view Mr. Wrigley as though he was part of a monolithic group of aggressive rioters who intentionally and with advance planning engaged in violence and destruction - people with whom Mr. Wrigley never associated and never communicated,” she wrote. “What Mr. Wrigley did was wrong. He has and will suffer consequences. At the same time, consideration of his punishment should not be biased by the wrongs of others.”

Andrew Wrigley posted a selfie from inside the Capitol. TIMES NEWS FILE PHOTO