LOCAL NEWS

Utahn pleads guilty to entering Capitol during Jan. 6 riot

Jan 12, 2022, 11:57 AM
Willard Jake Peart entered a plea agreement stemming from charges from the Jan. 6 riot. (U.S. Depar...
Willard Jake Peart entered a plea agreement stemming from charges from the Jan. 6 riot. (U.S. Department of Justice)
(U.S. Department of Justice)

SALT LAKE CITY — A 40-year-old Utah man has pleaded guilty to a charge stemming from his involvement in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Willard Jake Peart, of Toquerville, was previously charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.

He entered a guilty plea on Wednesday.

Peart told FBI agents in an interview that he attended the Trump rally and walked to the Capitol and didn’t intend to go inside but changed his mind once he saw others doing so. In the Capitol, he wrapped himself in a Trump flag and joined rioters in chanting.

(FBI) (FBI) (FBI)

Peart also “admitted to knowingly entering the U.S. Capitol Building with the intent that his entry would impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of government business or official functions,” FBI agents said in court documents.

Peart is the second Utahn to plead guilty to charges from the Jan. 6 riot.

Jacob Kyle Wiedrich, 24, pleaded guilty to demonstrating in the U.S. Capitol. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors agreed to ask a judge to throw out the remaining charges, court documents show. He faces up to six months behind bars and up to a $5,000 fine when he is sentenced on Jan. 19.

One year later: Where cases stand against 8 Utahns charged in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol siege

Janet West Buhler, 57, a clothing designer from Kaysville and Michael Lee Hardin, 50, a former police officer also from Kaysville, have plea agreements scheduled for later this month.

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Utahn pleads guilty to entering Capitol during Jan. 6 riot