Judge Wants Answers After Jan. 6 Defendant Recants Guilt

Thomas Adams Jr. admits actions in court, then says he has no regrets
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 3, 2023 5:10 PM CST
Judge Wants Answers After Jan. 6 Defendant Recants Guilt
Smoke fills the walkway outside the Senate chamber on Jan. 6, 2021, as supporters of President Donald Trump are confronted by US Capitol Police officers.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

After being convicted Tuesday of participating in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Thomas Adams Jr. rethought the remorse he'd expressed in court. "I wouldn't change anything I did," he told the State Journal-Register on Wednesday. Under oath in court, Adams had acknowledged walking into the Capitol and strolling through the Senate chamber, unauthorized. He said he was ready to occupy the building for days. For that, he was convicted of two felonies: obstructing an official proceeding and aiding and abetting others in committing obstruction of an official proceeding. US District Judge Amit Mehta, who allowed Adams to be free while awaiting sentencing, has questions about that interview.

The convictions came in a "stipulated" bench trial, a brief proceeding in which everyone agrees on the facts and the court decides whether they add up to a conviction. On Friday, Mehta gave both sides a week to explain why the convictions shouldn't be vacated—meaning Adams' case wouldn't be resolved after all. The judge attached a copy of the interview to his order. Courts dislike accepting insincere guilty pleas, per Politico, and judges handling Jan. 6 cases especially have been irked by defendants sounding contrite in court and not outside court. That's what Adams seemed to do this week. "I still to this day, even though I had to admit guilt, don't feel like I did what the charge is," he told the Journal-Register. (More Capitol riot stories.)

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