A federal judge in Washington, D.C., is considering the fate of a Lebanon man charged with assaulting three police officers and other crimes during the Jan. 6, 2021, siege on the Capitol.
Kyle Fitzsimons, 38, was tried earlier this month before U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras.
In June, Fitzsimons waived his right to a jury trial on 11 charges related to the violent protest he took part in two weeks before the inauguration of President Joe Biden.
The judge is expected to issue a written verdict next month.
Fitzsimons became the first Mainer to be charged in connection with the Jan. 6 riot. He is now one of five men with Maine ties of the nearly 900 defendants who have been charged in what the Department of Justice is calling the “Capitol breach cases.” Fitzsimons is the only Maine defendant facing felony charges.
He has been held without bail since his arrest on Feb. 4, 2021. He was arrested at his home in Maine.
Three police officers testified at Fitzsimons’ four-day trial. One told Contreras that Fitzsimons pulled his shoulder so hard that he required surgery to repair the torn tissue. Another testified that Fitzsimons pulled off his gas mask while another protester aimed what was believed to be bear spray in his face.
Fitzsimons also allegedly tried to strike a third officer with the unstrung bow he’d brought with him from Maine that day.
Two of the officers testified that the white butcher’s jacket Fitzsimons wore to the Capitol building that day made it a bit easier to recognize and remember him than some of the other rioters.
Federal Defender Natasha Taylor-Smith, who is defending Fitzsimons, has argued that recordings from surveillance and the officers’ body cameras are not clear enough to prove that Fitzsimons is the person who assaulted them. She also has argued that Fitzsimons went to the Capitol as part of an effort to persuade members of Congress to oppose the certification of the presidential election due to alleged voting irregularities.
If convicted, Fitzsimons faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on the most serious charges of inflicting bodily harm on federal police officers.
In the years before his arrest, Fitzsimons espoused white supremacist rhetoric at the State House in Augusta and on social media, threatened U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree if she voted to impeach former President Donald Trump, and had two “unnerving” encounters with Maine Rep. Michele Meyer, D-Eliot.
He told state lawmakers in 2018 that he had moved to Maine to escape “multicultural hellholes,” and that immigrants were “killing off yankee New England culture.”
In the 19 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 860 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 260 individuals such as Fitzsimons charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, according to the Department of Justice, tasked with prosecuting the cases. The investigation remains ongoing.
So far, the longest prison sentence imposed on convicted rioters is more than seven years. Guy Wesley Reffitt, 49, of Wylie, Texas, was the first defendant to be tried by a jury. He was found guilty of assaulting officers in March.
Howard C. Richardson, 72, of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, was sentenced Friday to nearly four years in prison. He raised a flag on a pole and forcefully swung it downward to strike an officer, who was standing behind a metal barricade, according to federal prosecutors. Richardson then struck the officer two more times, using enough force to break the flagpole.