A Capitol rioter from Bridgeville was sentenced Monday to two months behind bars.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, presiding in Washington, D.C., imposed that term on Kenneth Grayson, 53, who had pleaded guilty to interfering with police during a civil disorder.
The judge also ordered him to be on probation for two years and pay $2,000 in restitution.
Grayson had faced a sentencing range of zero to six months. He wanted zero. Prosecutors wanted three months. The judge sided with the prosecution, saying Grayson was part of the rioting mob.
A former juvenile correctional officer and the son of a police officer, Grayson had said he was led astray by Donald Trump’s “inflammatory” rhetoric on Jan. 6 and believed the president’s lies that the election was stolen.
He rented a van and drove to Washington with three associates, including Jennifer Heinl, the former wife of a Shaler police officer, who was previously sentenced to two weeks in jail and community service for her role in the rioting.
Grayson admitted that he illegally entered the Capitol through the Senate Wing doors and walked into the crypt. He also entered the rotunda area, where a mob battled police.
Prosecutors said he joined the rioters there in pushing against the police line, although Grayson maintained that he never hurt any officers or damaged any property.
He also said he was a braggart. In online forums, he presented himself as a champion of Trump but said he made up stories about himself to bolster his image as a tough guy.
He boasted on social media that he had driven to Washington for prior Trump rallies and beat up “commies” there. In one post, he said he beat someone unconscious with a flagpole.
But in addressing the judge in a letter, Grayson said he concocted that story and never hurt anyone.
“I hope you can understand that it was only talk,” he told the judge, saying he “talks a lot of mess.”
In an interview with the FBI after his arrest, Grayson told agents that he got his news online and followed the QAnon movement and the Infowars site. During the riot, he wore a big yellow Q and an Infowars patch on his clothing.
He said he was obeying Trump but insisted he didn’t “rip, steal, touch or fight.”
Instead, he said, he only yelled, filmed and “acted like an idiot.”
Torsten covers the courts for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.