'Aspiring Proud Boy' who told his probation officer he was handing out Bibles on January 6 is sentenced to 4 months in prison on Capitol riot charge
- An "aspiring Proud Boy" was sentenced to four months in prison on a Capitol riot misdemeanor charge.
- Bryan Betancur told his parole officer he was handing out Bibles while he was really at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
A Maryland man who violated his parole to take part in the Capitol attack on January 6, 2021, was sentenced to four months in prison this week after federal prosecutors pushed for the higher end of his sentencing recommendation, arguing that the defendant was a self-identified white supremacist.
Bryan Betancur pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of entering and remaining in a restricted building in May. He was originally charged with five counts related to his role in the attack, but as the government works to prosecute the nearly 900 people arrested in connection with the siege, prosecutors have offered some rioters lesser charges in exchange for their guilty pleas.
US District Judge Timothy Kelly on Wednesday sentenced Betancur to four months, as well as one year of supervised release and a $500 fine in restitution.
Betancur was one of the first defendants arrested in relation to the insurrection after officers took him into custody on January 18, 2021. But even before January 6, 2021, Betancur was already a convicted criminal, serving out a probation sentence that required him to wear a GPS monitor due to a 2019 burglary charge, according to court documents.
Prosecutors say Betancur lied to his probation officer in an attempt to gain permission to attend the "Stop the Steal" rally that preceded the Capitol riot. Betancur said he wanted to leave the state in order to distribute Bibles on behalf of the Christian group, the Gideons International — a pious request that was ultimately approved.
Betancur provided his probation officer with updates throughout the day on January 6, 2021, and said he would be home by curfew, according to charging documents. He was eventually caught thanks to the GPS tracking device attached to his ankle. Betancur himself acknowledged in his plea agreement that the Bible story had been a ruse.
But prosecutors said it wasn't the first time Betancur used the Bible lie. In December 2020, Betancur told the same story, but instead, he joined members of the extremist group, the Proud Boys, during a pro-Trump rally in Washington, DC, that ended in violence.
Photos on Betancur's social media show him wearing a Proud Boys shirt during the Capitol siege, prosecutors said, as well as posing with a Confederate flag. Betancur entered the Capitol and helped other rioters remove furniture that was later used by others as weapons against law enforcement, according to court documents.
But despite Betancur's apparent aspirations to be "an official Proud Boys member," according to prosecutors, the FBI does not believe he has ever been officially affiliated with the group. In an earlier affidavit, prosecutors described Betancur as a self-identified white supremacist and said he had previously made comments about conducting a school shooting.
An attorney for Betancur did not respond to Insider's request for comment.
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