West Virginia lawmaker doing time for Jan. 6 felony will shill book as he eyes political future

Evans fancies himself something of a political prisoner, but he is also just the latest Jan. 6 defendant in a long series to apologize profusely in court when facing down a judge and then turn around to bellyache to the press with varying defenses of their actions or Jan. 6 itself. 

An attorney for Evans did not immediately return a request for comment. 

Evans is now serving his 90-day sentence in Michigan. It took just two days for Evans to be arrested after Jan. 6. He resigned from his role in the West Virginia state legislature shortly after and then entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors where he pleaded guilty to a single felony civil disorder count. 

He was remorseful in court, apologizing for his actions and expressed anguish over how it impacted his young family. He vowed to keep himself out of trouble and said he regretted being “caught up” in a situation that led to him breaking the law. 

“The hardest part is looking in the mirror and knowing my actions have caused great harm to my wife and kids,” Evans said at his sentencing hearing on June 22. 

But the very next morning, according to prosecutors, Evans gave a 24-minute radio interview where he undercut all of his apologies and admissions of guilt in court.

When asked if he regretted what he did on Jan. 6, Evans said: “I regret the situation I’m in. I regret I’m gonna be away from my family. If I had to do it all over again, maybe I wouldn’t have went inside the building. But I’m never going to regret standing up to tyranny and standing up for the people who believe in me and standing up for the future of my children. I’m never going to have regrets when it comes to standing up and doing what’s right, at the end of the day.” 

Evans also claimed in that interview that he did not witness any violence or destruction on Jan. 6.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves and trial attorney Kathryn Fifeld alerted the court to these remarks on June 30 and further, highlighted how Evans was spinning a narrative publicly that did not match the literal evidence he admitted to in court.

For example, in the interview post-sentencing, Evans said he had “no intention” of going inside the Capitol on Jan. 6. 

“I never honestly thought that we was going to be inside the Capitol, never crossed my mind,” he remarked.

Evans said no one was trying to get into the Capitol once barriers were breached, either. 

“They just wanted to get to the Capitol steps, basically make their voices heard,” he said. 

Evans posted messages on Facebook about attending Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally as early as Dec. 28, court records have shown. “Fight for Trump!” one message read, while another on Dec. 30 declared: “Take America Back. Be there, will be wild.”

It was almost identical to the tweet sent by Trump days before. 

Then, on Jan. 5, Evans posted pictures of himself and others attending Trump’s rally as they squeezed into a charter bus. 

“Two busloads of Patriots from WV, KY and Ohio are loaded up and heading to DC. #StoptheSteal,” Evans wrote.

When former President Donald Trump tweeted around 1:30 AM on Jan. 6 that “another 4,000 ballots from Fulton County” Georgia were found, Evans screenshotted Trump’s election lie and posted it with another message of his own.

“This is why we are going to DC,” he wrote, before again adding a Stop the Steal hashtag. 

On Jan. 6, Evans made his way to the Capitol and watched the crowd billow until roughly 1:45 PM. Then he joined rioters at the east steps of the Capitol where they were already screaming, pushing, and pulling at officers as they tried to force their way in. 

Evans started filming himself and narrating.

As he choked on pepper spray, Evans streamed online, telling rioters who were quickly gaining an advantage: “The cops are running, the cops are running,” and “Here we go! Open the doors!”

Evans filmed himself cheering “Trump!” before telling other rioters to “Move! Move! Move!” as he asked urgently whether others were “still fighting cops” just beyond the doors he was stuck behind. 

But once he made it past the doors and got inside, Evans exclaimed in his stream: “We’re in! Derrick Evans is in the Capitol!”

He was inside for roughly 10 minutes.

Right before he started his prison sentence, Evans told CBS News he was mulling a potential run for Congress in 2024. His arrest, he told the outlet, could likely help him win a race in his home state since many a Trump voter still resides there. 

The community in West Virginia thought “it was dumb,” he admitted, but there was still more than a modicum of pride. People shook his hand, he said. They thanked him for “having guts and a backbone.”

Evans told CBS he still thinks the 2020 election was stolen. Not one iota of credible evidence has yet to manifest on the planet to support this, but Evans, much like Trump, still believes it. 

Prosecutors “overcharged’ him as well, he said. 

“From top to bottom, our criminal justice system needs reform. I hear people on both sides mention this from time to time but to be honest with you, they don’t have a clue and it’s not because they don’t care, you don’t have a clue ’til you’ve been through it yourself, and literally, from top to bottom our criminal justice system needs reform,” he said. 

The Justice Department only recommended Evans serve three months. Sentencing guidelines prescribed anything from no time in prison to six months. The judge who presided over Evans’s case,  U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, was clear with the Pritchard, West Virginia, resident at the hearing. 

Lamberth told him he would have sentenced Evans to six months if federal prosecutors had asked for it. But he didn’t want to be harsher than the government. 

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