Capitol rioter blames internet addiction for breaching rules to watch MyPillow guy videos

·2 min read
File: Trump supporters, including Doug Jensen, centre, confront US Capitol police in the hallway outside of the Senate chamber at the Capitol  (AP)
File: Trump supporters, including Doug Jensen, centre, confront US Capitol police in the hallway outside of the Senate chamber at the Capitol (AP)

A man charged with taking part in the 6 January US Capitol riots claimed his addiction to the internet led him to violate his release agreement.

Iowa-based Doug Jensen, 42, was released from prison in July on the condition that he stays away from the internet, including not having access to his family’s internet-connected devices.

However, Mr Jensen's lawyer Christopher Davis wrote in a court filing on Sunday that the accused conceded he violated the terms of his release by “accessing a video-sharing website that features misinformation about Covid-19 vaccinations and the 2020 presidential election.”

Mr Davis equated Mr Jensen’s situation to that of a relapsed drug addict.

“If a drug abuser relapses, there is typically a sanction protocol in place to help the person deal with substance abuse issues. Mr Jensen requests that this honourable court treat his violation in a similar matter,” he said.

On 13 August, the Trump supporter was caught viewing videos on Rumble, a far-right video streaming platform, when pretrial services authorities showed up at his door, according to the prosecutors. An officer caught him in his garage streaming news from a far-right website through a wifi-enabled iPhone.

The prosecutors claimed that Mr Jensen, when confronted about the violation, “provided his pretrial service officer with one excuse after another.”

“Jensen eventually admitted that in the previous week, he had spent two days watching Mike Lindell’s [founder and CEO of MyPillow] Cyber Symposium regarding the recount of the presidential election,” the filing read.

Following the incident, US attorney Channing Phillips wrote in a court filing seeking Mr Jensen’s return to prison as his alleged “disavowal of QAnon was just an act.”

Mr Jensen, a follower of the QAnon conspiracy theory, was seen chasing Capitol police officer Eugene Goodman while wearing a shirt with “Q” emblazoned on it. He faces charges including civil disorder, assaulting, resisting or impeding a law enforcement officer.

During his release after spending six months in prison, Mr Jensen's attorney claimed he had renounced his previous beliefs in the QAnon conspiracy and “promised he would abide by whatever terms the court set.”

Mr Jensen had told the court that he had been “duped” by QAnon conspiracy theories, where he “bought into a pack of lies.”

Mr Jensen is likely to undergo a mental health evaluation scheduled for Friday.

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