'I was there and am responsible for it.' John Douglas Wright gets prison for Capitol riot

John Doug Wright demonstrates support for President Donald Trump during early voting in October 2020 at the Stark County Board of Elections in Canton.
John Doug Wright demonstrates support for President Donald Trump during early voting in October 2020 at the Stark County Board of Elections in Canton.

WASHINGTON – A Stark County man learned Monday he must spend 49 months in federal prison for his role in breaching the U.S. Capitol.

John Douglas Wright, 56, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia., more than two years after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.

Wright, a Plain Township resident, must report June 16 to begin serving his prison term. Wright was also ordered to pay a restitution of $2,000 to the architect of the Capitol.

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At the sentencing, federal prosecutors recommended Wright serve 60 months, arguing that the term must be sufficient enough to be a deterrent for future actions.

Wright addressed Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, expressing remorse and taking responsibility.

“I want to apologize for my actions, not just to you, but to the government, to fellow Americans,” Wright said. “I was there and am responsible for it."

Kollar-Kotelly said during the sentencing that Wright is only the second of all of the Jan. 6 defendants to appear in her courtroom to apologize for their actions.

“Our democracy is fragile, and certainly the insurrection has made that clear,” she said.

During the sentencing, the U.S. attorney showed video footage and photographs of Wright at the Capitol. The footage showed Wright pushing against barricades by the Capitol Police, as well as another video showing him pushing a piece of the metal barricade fencing down on a Capitol Police officer.

“We respect the judge’s sentence, although we are disappointed with the severity,” his attorney Noah Munyer said after the sentencing.

According to court documents, Wright organized two charter buses that he owned to travel to Washington, D.C., charging 100 people $50 each to go to D.C. for the “Stop the Steal” rally.

Wright has until June 16 before he must voluntarily surrender at FCI Elkton, a low-security federal prison near Elkton, Ohio. The date was chosen so he could get his business affairs in order. Kollar-Kotelly also told Wright that he will be taken off of GPS monitoring for the remainder of the time until he serves his sentence.

Doug Wright's path to the Capitol in 2021

Wright was arrested in May 2021. He was among more than 700 people charged with breaching the U.S. Capitol. Thousands descended that day to protest the congressional certification of the Electoral College votes confirming Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as president and vice president.

According to federal court records, Wright was later arrested at his Stark County home and indicted on multiple charges, including civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, and entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds.

In August, he pleaded guilty to a single federal charge of obstruction of an official. Federal prosecutors dismissed the remaining eight counts.

Wright faced a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

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Wright details what happened on Jan. 6, 2021

At his plea hearing in August, Wright said he and the group walked to the east side of the Capitol to the barricade line guarded by Capitol Police.

Wright said after pushing at the barricades, he pulled back, and opened a foldable chair so he could sit down. Wright said he needed to catch his breath because the group didn't immediately succeed.

Wright implied the barricades were breached while he was seated and catching his breath.

After the barricades went down, Wright admitted to joining the crowd and making his way inside. He said he smoked a cigarette in the rotunda and used social media before, during and after the confrontation.

A tip submitted to the FBI contained an attachment of a Facebook Live video, captioned "Doug Wright was Live." The video was from inside the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, with an individual shouting, "Yeah, this is what the inside looks like. We are in our house."

According to federal prosecutors, his statements on social media included: "Set on nice bench in rotunda and had a smoke," "Yesterday was a practice run," and "I think we need to make more home visits."

This article originally appeared on The Repository: John Douglas Wright sentenced to 49 months in prison for Jan. 6 riot