Local man gets jail time for role in U.S. Capitol riot

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Jan. 20—A Kernersville man will have to spend 15 days in jail for being an enthusiastic participant in the crowd that rioted at the U.S. Capitol and went inside the building on Jan. 6, 2021.

Anthony Joseph Scirica, 25, pleaded guilty in September to misdemeanor parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.

Although many people who have pleaded guilty to the same misdemeanor charge received sentences with no jail time, and prosecutors indicated in September that they would not seek a jail sentence, in a sentencing memo last week they sought a 15-day jail sentence.

Prosecutors argued in the memo that some jail was warranted because "Scirica did not merely follow others once inside the Capitol Building, he led rioters through Statuary Hall in the direction of the House Chamber doors because he thought 'that must be the place towards where the electors are,'" and remained in the Capitol even after police set off tear gas to try to clear the crowd.

When interviewed by the FBI, Scirica also expressed no remorse and said, "It might make a good story in like 50 years when I'm a grandfather," the filing said.

During his sentencing hearing Thursday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Schirica told Judge Christopher Cooper he regrets taking part and doesn't think it will make a good story.

"I was a little naive about the intentions of people around me," he said. "The thought of true violence never crossed my mind."

Scirica was seen in a security video outside the U.S. House Speaker's Lobby just five minutes after Ashli Babbitt was shot when she and other rioters tried to break into the House Chamber, but Scirica said he never heard a gunshot.

Cooper pressed Scirica on the human cost of his actions.

"Do you know how many congressional staffers were ... behind those doors cowering, calling their parents? ... Have you thought about that?" Cooper said.

"Yes, I thought about that," Scirica said.

Cooper said the evidence shows that Scirica was not a passive observer.

"I see you telling people where to go. ... I see you leading the chants," he said.

But he said Scirica didn't appear to take part in any violence himself.

"I think you got caught up in the moment," Cooper said.

Cooper said that Scirica, who previously told the court he aspires to attend law school and become an attorney, can serve his sentence on weekends so he can keep his job.