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Montco man who twice entered the Capitol during Jan. 6 riot sentenced to three weeks behind bars

Carson Lucard, of Norristown, twice entered the Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. He later told FBI agents he didn't take any photos because that would be "dumb" and "self-incriminating."

Carson Lucard (center), of Norristown, is seen in this selfie taken by Brian Stenz (right), of East Norriton, as the pair breached the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.
Carson Lucard (center), of Norristown, is seen in this selfie taken by Brian Stenz (right), of East Norriton, as the pair breached the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.Read moreJustice Department Court Filings

A lawyer for a Montgomery County man sentenced Friday for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot likened his client’s presence in the raucous, pro-Trump mob to “a salmon going down one of those tubes at a fish farm.”

Carson S. Lucard, 27, of Norristown, was simply swept up in a crowd that broke into and trashed the office of a U.S. senator, said his attorney, William J. Brennan.

But U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell wasn’t buying that explanation as she sentenced Lucard to three weeks’ incarceration.

“This defendant went in [to the Capitol building] twice,” she responded incredulously to Brennan’s remark during a court hearing Friday in Washington. “The first time he went in it was in a mad rush of people who broke a police line. … He spent part of his time yelling at police officers … then, going into a private office, and encouraging another person to go into the Capitol building.”

The sentence Howell imposed — which also included orders for two months of house arrest, three years’ probation, and restitution of $500 — made Lucard the 20th Pennsylvania defendant to face punishment for his role in the 2021 insurrection, which caused millions of dollars in damage, injured scores of officers, and threatened the peaceful transition of presidential power.

In all, more than 820 Americans face charges for participating in or planning the riot — and nearly 70 of them hail from Pennsylvania.

» READ MORE: More than 60 Pennsylvanians have been charged in the Capitol riot. A year later, judges are starting to weigh their punishments.

But unlike others she’d sentenced, Howell noted Friday, Lucard — a home health-care aide who lives with his parents and cares for an ailing father — had not been accused of destroying property or attacking police during his 23 minutes in the Capitol.

Still, security footage from that day shows him, dressed in a black North Face fleece and an American flag face mask, among a belligerent crowd chanting and shouting words like “traitor” at police inside the Capitol Rotunda struggling to hold them off.

“The video shows rioters poking flagpoles in their faces,” Howell said Friday. “I mean it was mayhem.”

Many of those who showed up to court Friday to speak on Lucard’s behalf — including his uncle Michael R. Stiles, the former U.S. Attorney in Philadelphia appointed by President Bill Clinton — acknowledged they had not seen that footage but said they couldn’t imagine the young man they knew as being anything other than respectful.

“That doesn’t take away from a lifetime of me knowing him honestly as a kind, caring, respectful person notwithstanding this day,” Stiles said.

For his part, Lucard told the judge he’d simply become “caught up in the moment.”

“I had absolutely no right being in the Capitol that day,” he said. “It’s been a nightmare. … I can only imagine how scared the congresspeople were that day, and I understand how my presence contributed to the chaotic nature of the entire atmosphere.”

Like most defendants sentenced so far in the riot investigation, Lucard pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor offense — illegally parading or demonstrating inside the Capitol building.

The three-week term of incarceration Howell ordered exceeded punishments she’d previously handed down to other area rioters including Lawrence Earl Stackhouse III — an aspiring Proud Boy from Camden County whom she sentenced to two weeks earlier this month — and Brian Stenz — a 51-year-old East Norriton man who traveled with Lucard from Montgomery County to Washington on Jan 6., and received two weeks behind bars at his sentencing in February.

Howell explained that she saw Lucard’s case differently. He entered the Capitol twice, and thus could not claim to have experienced a momentary lapse in judgment like the others, she said. He also encouraged Stenz, the father of a friend, to join him on his second trip in.

Together, the two made their way into the office of Sen. Jeff Merkley (D., Ore.), which had drawn an unruly crowd. Photos from that day show four Philadelphia Proud Boys also packed in the room, including their leader, Zach Rehl, who was caught on camera smoking in the office.

Brandon Fellows, a New York rioter who was also there, has described the scene inside as “just a bunch of people lighting up [and] smoking a bunch of weed in there.”

Brennan, Lucard’s attorney, stressed in court Friday that his client had not been accused of participating in any of the property destruction in Merkley’s office that day.

“Mr. Lucard is extremely remorseful,” he said. “He realizes the severity of that chaotic, horrible day.”