Stephen Ayres: Why is he testifying in the Jan. 6 hearings?

Stephen Ayres

Stephen Ayres, a man who pleaded guilty to entering the Capitol on Jan. 6 is expected to testify Tuesday before the House committee investigating the insurrection.

The seventh public hearing will focus on the role of violent extremist groups during the Capitol siege and former President Donald Trump’s December 2020 tweet encouraging supporters to come to Washington for a “big protest.”

Ahead of the insurrection, Stephen Ayres shared a tweet from Trump on Facebook, adding, “Where will you be on January 6th?” and “are you willing to start fighting for the American Dream[?]”

A family member alerted the FBI of Ayres’ actions on Jan. 6, which he streamed live on his Facebook account.

The family member said Ayres looked like “he was at war.” During the video, Ayres said the siege was “just the beginning” and there was “more to come next week,” according to the arrest warrant.

Stephen Ayres
Stephen Ayres

Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., told Meet the Press on July 10 that the committee would present evidence about the ways a Trump tweet on Dec. 19, 2020, “was a siren call to these folks.”

It’s not clear whether Ayres has testified to the committee behind closed doors.

The federal government charged Ayres with multiple crimes related to the Capitol riot, but dropped three of the four charges after Ayres pleaded guilty to disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds.

Because Ayres did not have a weapon or injure anyone on Jan. 6, the maximum penalty for the charge is one year of prison, a fine of $100,000 and a year of supervised release, though he has not yet been sentenced.

Ayres is expected to testify alongside Jason Van Tatenhove, a former spokesman for the far-right paramilitary group the Oath Keepers.

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