After former President Donald Trump encouraged his supporters to march to the United States Capitol during a joint congressional session certifying President Joe Biden's election victory, the mob of pro-Trump extremists stormed the building. They ransacked offices, beat police officers, shattered windows, and called for the execution of any lawmaker they perceived to be disloyal to Trump.
The joint session was completely upended as the mob temporarily overtook the building. The harrowing day produced many disturbing images, such as the QAnon "shaman" wailing on the Senate floor, an insurrectionist sitting in the chair occupied by then-Vice President Mike Pence only minutes before, and a Manatee County man—Adam Johnson—smiling at cameras as he made away with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's lectern.
The photo soon went viral.
Police arrest Florida man caught on camera carrying Pelosi's lectern during Capitol riot https://t.co/3eLBb0UYle pic.twitter.com/3r0QQV0QAn
— Yahoo News (@YahooNews) January 9, 2021
Johnson recently pled guilty for his actions on the condition that two charges were dropped from his indictment. He faces up to six months in prison for entering and remaining in a restricted facility.
Senior District Judge Reggie Walton sharply admonished Johnson after the defendant entered his plea.
"You seemed to have thought it was a fun event to be involved in. I don't understand that mentality and to come to Washington D.C. and to destroy a monument of our democracy, I find very, very disturbing, and what concerns me, sir, is that you were gullible enough to come to Washington, D.C., from Florida based on a lie, and the person who inspired you to do what you do is still making those statements, and my concern is that you are gullible enough to do it again."
Judge Walton is correct: Trump regularly promotes the same lies that sparked the insurrection, usually through his spokeswoman, Liz Harrington, who began publishing Trump's statements to Twitter after he was banned from the site.
The judge concluded with a question:
"So why shouldn't I lock you up sir? Why should I think that you won't do this again?"
"Your honor, I understand that my actions are reprehensible but I am here pleading guilty because I am guilty. I have taken responsibility. This was my first protest and last protest."
People weren't sympathetic.
"...what concerns me, is that you were gullible enough to come all the way up here from Florida based upon a lie."
Adam Johnson needs Trumpamine!
Judge scolds FL man who took Pelosi lectern in Capitol riot. 'Why shouldn't I lock you up?' https://t.co/qm1RYn3P1f pic.twitter.com/VrH6seo0dr
— Frank James (@Frank_TIHZHO) November 22, 2021
“I have concerns about whether you will be gullible when something like this arises again. That concerns me, it really does, because we are in a troubled situation as a country."
Judge Walton to Jan 6 insurrectionist, Adam Johnson.
Lock him up!https://t.co/hLft2OGHbK
— Wheredidreasongo? (@SpanthePacific) November 23, 2021
Man photographed committing crime pleads guilty. https://t.co/6yUKx40Us3
— Infosec V'ger (@andrewdwilliams) November 24, 2021
with that photo....kind of hard to plead innocent !
— Berhe Banks (@BanksBerhe) November 24, 2021
That's a no brainer 🤪
— sandy browne (@sandybrowne7) November 24, 2021
Breaking & entering, theft are all fun and games until you get caught. Posting pics of yourself commiting these crimes, not real smart. Then again these folks were not Mensa members for getting talked into insurrection by the Big Liar.
— jlang39 (@Oldnotdone) November 24, 2021
Some felt Johnson was treated too delicately throughout the process.
The lectern — valued at more than $1,000. This A-hole Adam Johnson should've been made to serve some time.
Judge scolds FL man who took Pelosi lectern in Capitol riot. 'Why shouldn't I lock you up?' https://t.co/K9laRUBK35
— ☕️🌞 𝕁𝕒𝕞_𝔸𝕣𝕥☕🌙🔞💤 (@xtraferocity) November 22, 2021
Stealing from Louis Vuitton gets you arrested in moments on the street. Stealing from the government? Nothin'? https://t.co/RW2VbOGGAM
— Nora Dunn (@noradunn) November 24, 2021
Not enough prison time.
— Lee mosley (@rlm21450) November 22, 2021
Johnson was one of hundreds arrested for their role in the Capitol Riots.