A West Chester man who admitted to participating in the Jan. 6 riot in Washington pleaded guilty Friday to demonstrating inside the Capitol building.
Gary Wickersham, 81, one of the oldest people arrested for participating in the riot, entered the plea during a remote hearing before U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth. The plea, negotiated with federal prosecutors, spared him from more serious charges, including disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and unauthorized entry into a restricted area.
Wickersham is one of nearly 650 defendants accused of participating in the riot, which occurred after a rally organized by then-President Donald Trump. More than 55 are from Pennsylvania, and nearly a quarter of them have pleaded guilty. Their ranks include a Doylestown woman who recorded herself saying she wanted to shoot House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “in the friggin brain.”
In court filings, FBI agents said they identified Wickersham, an Army veteran, when a friend of his showed them text messages Wickersham sent about his time in the Capitol. The texts were later corroborated by security footage from Washington, as well as photos posted on social media, that show him confronting two officers during the riot.
Wickersham, when interviewed by the agents, admitted participating. He said he traveled by bus to Trump’s rally, and then marched toward the Capitol, where he said a mob was “cursing, screaming, knocking cops away, breaking down windows and doors,” according to court documents.
In his recounting to police, Wickersham blamed antifa for starting the riot, and accused Democrats of purposefully limiting security at the building in an attempt to lure Trump’s supporters inside for the sake of arresting them.
He said he followed the group inside and described to agents in detail the path he took through the building.
The judge deferred Wickersham’s sentencing until December.