Kyle Fitzsimons of Lebanon, Maine, has been charged in connection with the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. He's shown here in footage from a police body camera. Credit: Courtesy of federal court documents

The first Mainer charged in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol riot was found guilty of assaulting two police officers, with a federal judge issuing a verdict Tuesday that found Kyle Fitzsimons guilty of 10 charges.

Fitzsimons, 39, of Lebanon was accused of attacking three police officers at the Capitol building that day as rioters disrupted the count of electoral votes in the 2020 presidential election two weeks before the inauguration of President Joe Biden.

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., Rudolph Contreras, rendered his written verdict after hearing testimony over four days in August in court in Washington, D.C. Fitzsimons had waived his right to a jury trial.

Kyle Fitzsimons of Lebanon, Maine, has been charged in connection with the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. He told state lawmakers that he moved to Maine to escape what he called “multicultural hellholes.” Credit: Courtesy of U.S. Federal Court

While 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 more than 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 in a federal facility outside the nation’s capital 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 rioter 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.

Fitzsimons was found guilty on all charges he faced except for one count of inflicting bodily injury on a law enforcement officer. He was found guilty of other charges related to assaulting officers.

Federal Defender Natasha Taylor-Smith 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. He was not intending to breach the building, she argued.

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 more than 20 months since Jan. 6, 2021, 919 people have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 260 individuals such as Fitzsimons charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, according to the Department of Justice, which is tasked with prosecuting the cases.

The investigation remains ongoing. 

Fitzsimons’ felony charges carry a total statutory maximum sentence of 91 years in prison and potentially additional financial penalties. His four misdemeanor crimes carry a combined statutory maximum sentence of three years of incarceration and potential financial penalties.

Fitzsimons will be sentenced on Feb. 17, 2023, in Washington, D.C.

So far, the longest prison sentence a convicted rioter has received is 10 years. That sentence was  imposed earlier this month on a former New York City police officer who swung a metal flagpole at a Washington, D.C., officer, according to the New York Times.

The retired officer, Thomas Webster, was the first person charged in connection with the riot to defend himself before a jury with a self-defense argument, a similar defense to the one presented by Fitzsimons’ attorney.

Webster was convicted in May of all of the felony charges he faced, including assault.

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Sawyer Loftus

Sawyer Loftus is a reporter covering Old Town, Orono and the surrounding areas. A recent graduate of the University of Vermont, Sawyer grew up in Vermont where he's worked for Vermont Public Radio, The...