Capitol rioter who testified at Jan 6 Committee sentenced to 2 years probation

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A Capitol riot defendant who testified before the January 6 Committee has been sentenced to 24 months of probation and 100 hours of community service on Thursday.

Stephen Ayres participated in the riot and was later arrested. He pleaded guilty to one count of disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building during a hearing earlier this summer.

Ayres became emotional during a virtual sentencing hearing on Thursday, apologising to the "court and the American people."

“I went down there that day not with the intention to cause any violence or anything like that,” Ayres said. “But I did get caught up on all the stuff online, on Facebook, which ultimately I felt like was steering me in the wrong direction.”

“I went down there that day not with the intention to cause any violence or anything like that,” Ayres said. “But I did get caught up on all the stuff online, on Facebook, which ultimately I felt like was steering me in the wrong direction.”

According to NBC News, he told the court that he was "over all the division in the country" and that he constantly prays for both the Capitol rioters as well as the officers "that are struggling with [the riot's aftermath]."

“I just hope one day I can wake up and not have to live with it everyday, because I do, everyday,” Ayres said.

His wife begged the judge to spare him jail time, worrying that their children would "feel that burden" and that she didn't want that for them.

“We vowed when we got married that we would never subject our children to a broken home,” Hayle Ayres said. “And if he is incarcerated we will have broken that vow.”

Ayres' participation in the riot has already cost him his job and his house. He told the House Select Committee that he regretted putting trust in former President Donald Trump, who called his supporters to join him in Washington DC and directed them to walk to Capitol.

“It definitely changed my life, not for the good,” Ayres said. “Definitely not for the better.”

Ayres told the committee that he bought into Mr Trump's fraudulent claim that the 2020 election was stolen. This belief led him to attend Mr Trump's rally on 6 January in Washington DC. He said he did not arrive with any desire to go to the Capitol, but said Mr Trump's speech changed his mind.

After the riot, Mr Ayres said he deleted his social media accounts and began looking into the various lawsuits Mr Trump's supporters launched to try to overturn the 2020 election, and began to doubt the former president's story.