Mother and Son Sentenced to Almost Five Years in Prison for Walking Through Open Door at US Capitol

Mother and Son Sentenced to 5 YEARS For ENTERING The Capitol

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On Friday, a Tennessee bartender was sentenced to nearly five years in jail for bringing plastic zip tie handcuffs and a stun pistol into the Senate gallery on January 6, 2021, where he was captured in one of the most widely shared photographs of the U.S. Capitol riot.

Eric Munchel, 32, and his mother, Lisa Eisenhart, 59, were both found guilty of conspiracy and other counts; Lisa was sentenced to two and a half years in jail on Friday.

After the ruckus, a photo emerged showing a man disguised like a SWAT team member jumping over a railing in the Senate gallery while holding a handful of zip-tie handcuffs. Members of Congress who were about to sign off on President Joe Biden’s 2020 election triumph left the Senate floor just minutes before rioters stormed the building.

“A photojournalist captured the moment in what has become an iconic picture from January 6, visually capturing the danger of the riot, to democracy in general and to our elected representatives in particular,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing. “Due to this photograph, Munchel is widely known on social media as ‘Zip Tie Guy.'”

Prosecutors added “it is terrifying to contemplate what Munchel and Eisenhart would have done if members of Congress had still been present in the Senate Chamber when they entered it.”

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth handed down their sentences following a “stipulated bench trial,” in which neither side requested a jury. That means the judge made his decisions based on facts that were already settled before the trial began. In this method, defendants can keep their appeal rights even though they would lose them if they pled guilty.

Munchel’s prison term — four years and nine months behind bars — matched the sentence recommended by prosecutors. They also had recommended prison sentence of three years and 10 months for Eisenhart, of Woodstock Georgia, who has worked as a nurse for over 30 years.

While in Washington, Munchel told the judge he traveled there to shield his mother from potential harm.

“I know now that my actions were inexcusable and wrong,” Munchel said.

Eisenhart, who did not speak to the judge, stood at a podium with her son as they awaited the imposition of their sentences, arms clasped.

The judge said that both Munchel and his mother were “basically good people” despite having committed major crimes.

In preparation for the January 6 “Stop the Steal” event held by then-President Donald Trump near the White House, Munchel and his mother made the trip from Nashville, Tennessee.

They both left their hotel wearing tactical vests and joined the siege on the Capitol, which prevented President Joe Biden’s joint session of Congress from proceeding with the certification of his electoral victory. Munchel, like the others, was dressed like a paramilitary and carried a stun gun slung over his hip.

They both left their hotel wearing tactical vests and joined the siege on the Capitol, which prevented President Joe Biden’s joint session of Congress from proceeding with the certification of his electoral victory. Munchel, like the others, was dressed like a paramilitary and carried a stun gun slung over his hip.

Eisenhart shouted, “Treason!” and “Cowards!” while she and her son stood in the Senate gallery, about 30 minutes after lawmakers fled the chamber. Munchel was carrying a handful of zip-tie cuffs as he leaped over a banister in the gallery.

Munchel was “ready to take hostages,” and his mother was prepared to help him and “show Congress who was really in charge,” prosecutors said.

“The logical inference is that Munchel and Eisenhart wanted to use the zip tie handcuffs to capture their enemies: the members of Congress voting to certify the election.”

Munchel and his mother only spent about 12 minutes inside the Capitol, but they managed to penetrate and occupy “one of the most sensitive and sacred areas of the Capitol,” prosecutors said.

After searching his residence four days after the violence, FBI officers found zip ties that matched the ones he had stolen from the Capitol. Ten days after the riot, police detained Einsenhart. They spent over two months in jail after their arrests.

Defense attorney Joseph Allen said Munchel went to Washington “to protest what he was convinced was an unlawful and corrupt election result.”

“Mr. Munchel is not a rioter nor is he an insurrectionist. He was and is a law-abiding citizen who found himself caught up in the events of a day which began lawfully and peacefully and then devolved into the situation in which he finds himself now,” Allen wrote in sentencing memo.

Attorney Gregory Smith claimed his client, Einsenhart, and her son never threatened to use the zip ties or to kidnap any members of Congress.

“The government’s entire argument here is built on inferences and assumptions, which is not enough to meet their burden,” Smith wrote in a court filing.

As a result of the violence in the Capitol, more than 1,100 persons have been charged with federal offences. According to an examination of court records by the Associated Press, almost 600 of them have already been sentenced, with over 400 earning prison terms ranging from three days to 22 years.

A member of the Proud Boys extremist group in Kansas City pleaded guilty to hindering law officers during a civil riot this week as well. Christopher Kuehne, 50, of Olathe, Kansas, joined a huge number of Proud Boys in a march to the State Capitol. Prosecutors said he went to the Crypt after entering the facility and used a portable lectern to prevent a door from closing.

Marina Medvin, an attorney for Kuehne, said in an email that her client has an “otherwise clean record,” and is a decorated military veteran and Purple Heart recipient who deployed to Iraq twice with the Marine Corps.

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