Remarks From 'Baked Alaska' Torch Jan. 6 Plea Deal

He told judge he believes he is innocent
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 12, 2022 8:35 AM CDT
Jan. 6 Suspect, 'Baked Alaska,' Tells Judge He's Innocent
"At approximately the 17:45 mark on the YouTube video the defendant picks up a telephone and acts out a purported phone call with the United States Senate personnel," court papers state.   (Department of Justice)

(Newser) – One of the best-known Capitol riot suspects attempted to plead guilty Wednesday, but a trial date was set after he told the judge he was innocent. Far-right livestreamer "Baked Alaska," whose real name is Anthime Joseph Gionet, had been set to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge that he "willfully and knowingly paraded, demonstrated, and picketed" in a Capitol building, NBC reports. He told US District Judge Emmet Sullivan, however, that he believes he is innocent and he was pleading guilty because prosecutors had told him "if I go to trial they're going to hit me with a felony."

"I'm never going to force someone to plead guilty who doesn't think they're guilty," Sullivan said, per CNN. "Never." The judge set a trial date for March next year and told Gionet: "You're going to get a fair trial, sir. Don't plead guilty to please me." The judge added, "It's all about doing the correct thing for the correct reasons." Gionet was arrested in Jan. 2021 and the fact that it took such a long time for a plea deal suggests "potentially extensive negotiations," CNN notes. The Justice Department said it would leave the deal open for 60 days.

If Gionet does go to trial, prosecutors will not be short on evidence. According to court papers, He recorded a 27-minute video inside the Capitol, in which he can be heard chanting slogans and swearing at law enforcement officers. "At approximately the 12:40 mark in the YouTube video the defendant can be heard remarking 'Unleash the Kraken, let’s go.' The defendant is repeatedly heard encouraging other protesters not to leave," an FBI agent said in a statement of facts. The livestream may have helped the FBI identify numerous other suspects. Gionet has argued that he shouldn't have been charged because he entered the Capitol as a member of the press. (Read more Capitol riot stories.)

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