Renowned painter's son convicted in Jan. 6 attack on Capitol
BOSTON (AP) — The son of a renowned American painter was convicted Friday of four counts of participating in the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol.
Vincent Gillespie, 61, of Athol, Massachusetts, was found guilty of assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers; civil disorder; engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds; and an act of physical violence in the Capitol grounds or buildings, prosecutors said.
Sentencing is scheduled for March 17.
Investigators said Gillespie pushed, yelled at and fought with police, maneuvering to a line of officers defending the Lower West Terrace’s exterior door. At one point, Gillespie took control of a police shield and used it to ram officers, they said.
He grabbed a Metropolitan Police Department sergeant by the arm, yanking him toward the mob and screamed “traitor” and “treason," according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
A lawyer representing Gillespie did not immediately return a request for comment.
A video interview Gillespie conducted with The Associated Press at the time of the riot was used as evidence by prosecutors during the trial, along with security video from the Capitol and police body cameras.
Although he was quick to give his name when asked by the AP reporter on the scene interviewing him, Gillespie hesitated before saying where he was from. “They’ll come after me, man,” he said, hesitating before adding, “I’m in Massachusetts.”
Vincent Gillespie is the son of renowned postwar American artist Gregory Gillespie, whose self-portraits, fantasy landscapes and geometric abstractions are included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and other museums. Gregory Gillespie died in 2000.
The AP video captured a flushed Vincent Gillespie milling about outside the Capitol speaking defiantly about his role in the attack — and his lament that more like-minded individuals didn’t join the fight.
“We were almost overpowering them,” Gillespie, blood visible on his scalp from the clash, told an AP journalist. “If you had like another 15, 20 guys behind us pushing I think we could have won it.”
The trial began Monday with jurors beginning deliberations on Thursday and concluding on Friday. At trial. Gillespie testified in his defense.
“He testified about finding the events of Jan. 6 fun and enjoyable,” said jury forewoman Niki Christoff, 44, of Washington, D.C. “By testifying in his own defense, I think he tried to muddy the waters and that only added to jury deliberation time.”
Christoff cited what she described as overwhelming photographic and video evidence against Gillespie.
Gillespie was spotted by AP outside the Capitol pouring water into his eyes, apparently to combat the effects of chemical spray.
He said he was among those attempting to storm the building by bursting through an opening.
“I was with some other guys. And then we were starting to push against them and they were beating us and putting that pepper spray stuff in your eyes. But there were a bunch of people pushing behind us,” Gillespie told The AP.
“What you guys need to know, and no one is going to listen to this, we were very (expletive) close.” If more people had been behind him, he said, “then there’s that second set of doors we would have just burst through it.”
He added on the video that he hoped those attacking the building “would flood in so there's nothing they can do.
“That’s what I would hope they would do. Take it over. Take it over. Own it for a few days. I’m not an anarchist, but you can’t let stand what happened in this election,” he said in an apparent reference to former President Donald Trump’s false claims the election was stolen.
Investigators said they were tipped off to Gillespie's identity by a former neighbor and others including employees of the town of Athol, where Gillespie attends meetings and pays his tax bills at the town hall. In all, authorities said, six witnesses independently identified him from images taken from the riot.
Gillespie is one of nearly 900 people arrested in nearly all 50 states in connection with the Capitol assault in which the pro-Trump mob sought to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory, officials said.