West Virginia lawmaker resigns after being charged for filming himself at Capitol siege

MEREDITH DELISO
·3 min read

A West Virginia state lawmaker has resigned after he was arrested after filming himself inside the U.S. Capitol during Wednesday's violent siege.

Republican Derrick Evans, a newly elected member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, was charged with illegal entry, the D.C. U.S. Attorney's Office said during a press call with reporters on Friday.

The federal criminal complaint listed two charges: knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol Grounds.

Evans was released on a personal recognizance bond after appearing before a federal judge in Huntington, West Virginia, court records show.

PHOTO: West Virginia House of Delegates member Derrick Evans is given the oath of office in the House chamber at the state Capitol in Charleston, W.Va., Dec. 14, 2020. (Perry Bennett/West Virginia Legislature via AP)
PHOTO: West Virginia House of Delegates member Derrick Evans is given the oath of office in the House chamber at the state Capitol in Charleston, W.Va., Dec. 14, 2020. (Perry Bennett/West Virginia Legislature via AP)

He resigned from the West Virginia House of Delegates on Saturday, saying in a statement that he takes "full responsibility for my actions."

"The past few days have certainly been a difficult time for my family, colleagues and myself, so I feel it's best at this point to resign my seat in the House and focus on my personal situation and those I love," Evans said.

Related: Nationwide manhunt intensifies for pro-Trump rioters in deadly Capitol breach

Evans livestreamed video on his Facebook page of himself and other protesters inside the Capitol after a pro-Trump mob forced its way in. Members of Congress were in the process of certifying the results of the November presidential election.

MORE: Man who allegedly broke into Pelosi's office charged with 3 federal counts

In the since-deleted video, Evans can be heard shouting over the crowd, "We're in! We're in! Derrick Evans is in the Capitol!"

Evans allegedly was "joining and encouraging a crowd unlawfully entering the U.S. Capitol," according to the criminal complaint, which included a breakdown of the approximately five-minute video.

Bryan said Evans "did nothing wrong" and characterized his client as an "independent activist and journalist" in a statement released Thursday.

PHOTO: West Virginia Republican state Del. Derrick Evans exits the courthouse after being arraigned in Huntington, W.Va., Jan. 8, 2021. (Sholten Singer/The Herald-Dispatch via AP)
PHOTO: West Virginia Republican state Del. Derrick Evans exits the courthouse after being arraigned in Huntington, W.Va., Jan. 8, 2021. (Sholten Singer/The Herald-Dispatch via AP)

"He was exercising his First Amendment rights to peacefully protest and film a historic and dynamic event," Bryan said. "He engaged in no violence, no rioting, no destruction of property, and no illegal behavior."

Bryan maintained that Evans was "wholly detached from the tragic events which occurred that day" and that the lawmaker also thought the crowd was "being allowed by law enforcement into the Capitol."

Approximately 40 people were arrested and charged in D.C. Superior Court in connection with the riot, authorities said Friday. Offenses included unlawful entry, curfew violations and firearms-related crimes, authorities said.

Additionally, 13 people were charged with federal crimes, including Richard Barnett, who allegedly broke into Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's office, authorities said.

Five people who were at the protests died, including a Capitol Police officer.

MORE: 'Non-scalable' fencing erected around Capitol, security ramped up after mob attack

In the wake of the violent attack on the Capitol, West Virginia House of Delegates Minority Leader Doug Skaff called for Evans to not be seated as a member on Jan. 13.

In a letter to House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, Skaff alleged that Evans "committed several illegal acts, clearly memorialized through his own Facebook broadcast, in an attempt to disrupt this constitutionally mandated process."

"His actions unequivocally disqualify him from holding public office in this state and make him ineligible to be seated as a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates," Skaff wrote.

PHOTO: Newly elected West Virginia Delegate Derrick Evans livestreamed video of himself with Trump supporters as the mob broke into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Derrick Evans via Storyful)
PHOTO: Newly elected West Virginia Delegate Derrick Evans livestreamed video of himself with Trump supporters as the mob broke into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Derrick Evans via Storyful)

West Virginia Sen.-elect Eric Nelson also called for Evans' resignation.

"Delegate Evans was unfortunately a part of the events this week that threatened what has historically made America a beacon for the rest of the world: the peaceful transfer of power," Hanshaw said in a statement Saturday. "Earlier today, Delegate Evans made the decision to resign from his position in the West Virginia House of Delegates. Now, we return to the work of rebuilding our nation's political climate.

"In announcing his resignation, Delegate Evans said he accepted responsibility for his actions and apologized to those he's hurt. In this time of overheated, hyperbolic political rage, I think that's a good first step for us all to take right now," he added.

ABC News' Meg Cunningham and Alex Mallin contributed to this report.

West Virginia lawmaker resigns after being charged for filming himself at Capitol siege originally appeared on abcnews.go.com