The *How* of Owen Shroyer’s Arrest

About an hour after I wrote this in my post on the problems with a Reuters article about the January 6 investigation…

Because of the other problems with this article, I don’t know what to make of the single piece of news in it. As noted above, a former senior law enforcement official claims that, “there was no grand scheme with Roger Stone and Alex Jones and all of these people to storm the Capitol and take hostages.” That makes sense with respect to Alex Jones; his videographer was arrested long ago and remains charged only with trespass.

Zoe Tillman first reported that InfoWars’ Owen Shroyer had been charged. A picture from the affidavit shows Shroyer on stage with Alex Jones and (though he’s harder to see) Ali Alexander, a key organizer for the events underlying the riot. Jones and Alexander were critically responsible for bringing the crowd first to DC and then to the Capitol, and Jones also allegedly paid for some of the rally (at a time when his show was in real financial trouble).

How DOJ charged Shroyer — at this point, just for trespassing charges — is as interesting that they did.

Shroyer is not alleged to have gone into the Capitol. The closest the affidavit places him is on the East side steps, right behind Jones and (I believe) with Alexander right in front of Jones.

The inclusion of this picture reminds me of how often Oath Keepers filings talk about the others who were also on the East side at the time they breached the Capitol.

Not entering the Capitol is not itself a bar on charges. After all, Couy Griffin was charged for his presence on the West steps, charges that Trevor McFadden didn’t throw out when he had a chance.

But Shroyer is a media personality with a claim to being a journalist. So DOJ offers more to justify it.

As the affidavit lays out, back during Impeachment 1.0 on December 9, 2019, Shroyer got himself arrested for accusing Jerry Nadler of treason.

He wasn’t charged for that until January 17, 2020, and so didn’t resolve the case with a Deferred Prosecution Agreement until February 25, 2020. What happened with Shroyer is what other January 6 defendants claim should have happened to them: misdemeanor charges in DC Superior Court, followed by a deferral.

As part of Shroyer’s DPA, he was required to do 32 hours — just four days! — of community service. He seems to have fiddled around with what entity he was going to do service with, but at one point he claimed he was going to do it with the Sinai Pentecostal Church’s Reverend Samuel Montoya, who also happens to be the father of InfoWars’ videographer, who himself got arrested in April.

Which is another way of saying that Shroyer was dicking around with the meager community service he was required to do as part of his DPA.

The other part of Shroyer’s DPA, aside from the community service he was clearly dodging, was a requirement that he not similarly engage in such disorderly conduct again at the “Capitol,” which was defined by a map that Shroyer signed, which actually may be broader than the protected space that DOJ is charging in the January 6 cases (and so easily encompasses the stage on which Shroyer appeared with Alex Jones).

Due to the nature of the offense, the DPA included the following special conditions for SHROYER:

1. The defendant agrees not to utter loud, threatening, or abusive language, or to engage in any disorderly or disruptive conduct, at any place upon the United States Capitol Grounds or within any of the Capitol Buildings with intent to impede, disrupt, or disturb the orderly conduct of any session of the Congress or either House thereof, or the orderly conduct within any such building of any hearing before, or any deliberations of, any committee or subcommittee of the Congress or either House thereof.

2. The defendant agrees not to parade, demonstrate, or picket within any of the Capitol Buildings. 3. The term “Capitol Buildings” means the United States Capitol, the Senate and House Office Buildings and garages, the Capitol Power Plant, all subways and enclosed passages connecting 2 or more of such structures, and the real property underlying and enclosed by any such structure.

In addition, the term “United States Capitol Grounds” was defined to include an area delineated in a map attached to the DPA spanning the Capitol grounds from 3rd Street NW on the west side of the Capitol building, to 2nd Street SE on the east side of the Capitol building (see Exhibit A). SHROYER and his attorney each signed an Acceptance and Attorney’s Acknowledgement, respectively, for the DPA. As a result of the DPA, SHROYER had special knowledge of what areas in Washington, D.C. in and around the U.S. Capitol constituted the U.S. Capitol Grounds. [my emphasis]

In other words, whereas the thousands of other people participating in the January 6 riot might believe they’d only get into trouble if they walked in the building, Shroyer had notice that the protected grounds were broader than that. And he not only may have been subject to a broader protected grounds than those other thousands of people, but it was a violation of his DPA to do it.

Plus, the government claims he played fast and loose with his community service, which meant that even though his crime was committed on December 9, 2019, his DPA remained in place until … well, it’s still in place because Shroyer did only 30 hours, rather than 32 hours, of community service, but it certainly was in place on January 6, because he had done none of his community service at that point.

As of January 6, 2021, the DPA remained in effect. SHROYER had not completed, nor reported the completion of, any of the 32 hours of community service as required pursuant to the DPA. On February 5, 2021, counsel for SHROYER emailed the Government to report that SHROYER allegedly “has completed his 32 hours of community service.” An attached log provided by SHROYER’s counsel reported that SHROYER, in fact, performed only 30 hours of community service beginning on January 19, 2021 through February 4, 2021. Thus, as of January 6, 2021, SHROYER had not completed any hours of community service as required by the DPA, and as of February 5, 2021, his community service obligation remained incomplete.

The rest of this arrest affidavit is gratuitous, a speaking document to nod to where they might go with him. After all, Shroyer was uniquely prohibited from entering the grounds and being an asshole on January 6. That’s all the government would need to charge him.

But the rest is interesting because it clearly lays out evidence — at a minimum! — that he could be charged with obstruction because he specifically talked about obstructing the vote certification on January 5.

SHROYER traveled to Washington, D.C. in January 2021, and in advance of January 6, 2021, spoke of stopping the certification of the Electoral College vote. In a video1 posted to the Infowars website on January 5, 2021, SHROYER gave an address in Freedom Plaza in Washington D.C., during which he stated: “Americans are ready to fight. We’re not exactly sure what that’s going to look like perhaps in a couple of weeks if we can’t stop this certification of the fraudulent election . . . we are the new revolution! We are going to restore and we are going to save the republic!”

In another video2 posted to the Infowars website on January 5, 2021, SHROYER called into an Infowars live broadcast and said: “what I’m afraid of is if we do not get this false certification of Biden stopped this week. I’m afraid of what this means for the rest of the month . . . Everybody knows election was stolen . . . are we just going to sit here and become activists for 4 years or are going to actually do something about this . . . whatever that cause or course of cause may be?”3

That is, this is where these charges could go, once they arrest Shroyer and maybe even search his phone. They’re not charging it here — and Shroyer was legally entitled to be an asshole at Freedom Plaza on January 5, as opposed to the Capitol. But they’re making it clear where they could go.

I suspect they hoped to arrest Shroyer at a status hearing scheduled for today, but he didn’t show.

Shroyer was supposed to appear in DC Superior Court on Friday for a hearing to update the judge on the status of his case, but he did not show up, according to the docket. The prosecutor didn’t ask for a bench warrant to arrest him for failing to appear, and the judge set another hearing for Sept. 23. A lawyer listed as counsel for Shroyer said that was a mistake and he was not involved in the case.

Instead, he announced the charges on his InfoWars show, looking a hell of a lot more panicked than a well-funded white guy facing misdemeanor trespass charges should be, even as a recidivist.

This is just one of 580 arrest affidavits accusing someone of trespassing. But it certainly seems to be more than that.

Update: In my post on how one would prosecute Donald Trump, I noted that DOJ has been coy about what went down at a December 12 Stop the Steal rally, probably because (I mused) they haven’t included Enrique Tarrio in any of the conspiracy indictments. As Just Security reported back in February, Shroyer was part of that event, too.

In the video, Owen Shroyer, an Infowars personality, speaks to the crowd on a bullhorn. He is standing next to Tarrio. Shroyer hands Stone the bullhorn. Stone gives brief remarks standing beside Nordean, who appears to have his hand on Stone’s shoulder. “We will fight to the bitter end for an honest count of the 2020 election. Never give up, never quit, never surrender, and fight for America!” Stone tells the crowd. After his brief remarks, Stone passes the bullhorn back to Shroyer. Tarrio joins Stone and Nordean. Tarrio and Stone engage in an inaudible dialogue as Shroyer continues to rouse the crowd. “We got stabbed in the back by the Supreme Court tonight,” shouts Shroyer. “This was never their revolution. This is our revolution!”

Update: Apparently the stage on which Owen and Jones were is within what DOJ is treating as restricted area, but thus far has not arrested anyone for. I do believe it is the case, however, that Owen’s restricted area is larger than the one DOJ has used for January 6.

Update: Corrected that Reverend Montoya is the father of videographer Sam Montoya, per JK.

40 replies
  1. Barb says:

    From affidavit pg. 3: “SHROYER agreed to abide by certain standard and special conditions during a four-month deferment period”

    Does this mean he was expected to* abide by those standards* only during the four-month period, or indefinitely? Am I reading this wrong?

  2. Peterr says:

    Skipping out on a required hearing, on top of ignoring his DPA? Yeah, that will go over well with the judge.

    I think my speculative, imaginative comment on the previous thread about the judge’s reaction to this might be too tame.

    And bmaz, if you disagree, show your work and tell me what you expect.

      • Peterr says:

        I think not.

        You said “Yeah, no” but gave no sense of what you expect the judge to do. You said I’m wrong, but you appear to be too reluctant to share your own sense of what the judge should do.

        Wanna give it another try?

        • emptywheel says:

          NAL, definitely not bmaz, but I suspect it’ll get dealt with in the short term in the bail discussions. There’s little question that Shroyer will be released on Monday after he formally turns himself in. But the fact that he dicked around with his DPA gives DOJ something to point to to demand Shroyer adhere to stricter terms of release than others, if they see a value to that.

          How they deal with his ongoing interactions with other co-conspirators (like Jones) is a big question.

        • Peterr says:

          Would a judge really release a defendant who thumbed his nose at a DPA for more than a year, and then skipped out on a required hearing?

        • emptywheel says:

          Yes, particularly bc he will turn himself in. He’s a public figure accused of trespassing. There’s no claim he’s a threat to the community or a real flight risk. In fact, while I assume he’s got some money, given Jones’ financial struggles earlier this year he may not have that much.

        • Peterr says:

          I’m not talking about bail, Marcy. I’m talking about the sentence he’ll get for the charges covered by his DPA, plus whatever new piles of manure he stepped in while at the Capitol on Jan 6, plus whatever enhancement refusing to come to a required hearing gets you on top of that.

          The whole point of a DPA is that the Court makes a deal with a defendant: you do X and we’ll let this go. Shroyer not only did not do X, but he affirmatively took what he was on the hook for already and repeated it in spades.

          When this is said and done, Shroyer is in a world of hurt. Instead of bail on these new charges, might the earlier case simply covered by the DPA be revisited, and his ass tossed in jail? “You had your chance on the congressional hearing case, and you blew it, so let’s proceed to sentencing.”

        • emptywheel says:

          It’s misdemeanor trespass. Both cases. That’s not going to happen. Nor should it.

          A more important thing to understand is that these misdemeanor trespass charges are, for the Jan 6 investigation, sort of like an extended FBI interview. The point is not to jail people at this misdemeanor stage, it’s to use the misdemeanor to understand their role further. Given how central Shroyer is, using the DPA to legitimize his arrest is just a tactic with a far more significant investigative role, not jail per se, as the goal.

        • bmaz says:

          It is about both Peter. Initially, detention or not. The result should be not. First off, he quite arguably deserves release conditions (almost all of them do), the terms and conditions of which may be affected by his conduct.

          But, yes, said conduct will be considered at any sentencing. As a general rule though, violating a DPA results in the original charges being reinstated, and not much more.

        • Peterr says:

          Isn’t a DPA paired with what is essentially a guilty plea? “You admit that your actions were . . . problematic . . . and we will give you a pass as long as you do X, Y, and Z.”

        • Leoghann says:

          I’ve never watched him before, so I don’t know if his halting delivery and deer-in-the-headlights look is typical, but he had the look of someone who’s just realized that life is getting real. Most judges would give white defendants at least one pass to someone violating the terms of his release, even though Shroyer didn’t just dick around with them, he completely blew them off. (His almost-completion of his community service with a work colleague and friend is ridiculous.) But given that he violated by participating in a violent insurrection, in this case, the judge’s attitude might be different.

          You’re right, in light of other defendants’ release conditions that include non-fraternization and no-contact, as well as no internet use in some cases, it will be interesting to see how the judge’s ruling for Shroyer goes.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          This: “Most judges would give white defendants at least one pass”–Leoghann, I don’t know how much emphasis you intended here. I have been swallowing my rage so often reading about these spoiled dimwits that my throat is blistered. It’s not just because they’re white that they assumed they would get away with it. It’s because they’re mostly getting away with it, and probably will next time. The magnificence of our justice system lies in the presumption of innocence, but for some of us that concept might as well be from a different star system.

        • bmaz says:

          “The magnificence of our justice system lies in the presumption of innocence, but for some of us that concept might as well be from a different star system.”

          No. I have no idea who “some of us” are, but if you cannot stand in the well of a court, go spend some serious time sitting in the pews of your local trial courts. It is one hell of a lot different than the claptrap on the internet.

          When you are actually there, day in and day out, it looks far different. Is it perfect? Heck no. But no justice system is perfect. None. So, if you want to carp, go stand in it, or at least watch it meaningfully.

          Jury of your peers is not a jury of Emptywheel commenters, it is, by design, a jury of rando citizens. Sometimes it can be frustrating, but I am here to tell you they, more often than not, get the verdict right. Sometimes for the wrong reason, but usually right.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          bmaz, I’ve spent a lot more time in court than most people, and I have tremendous respect for the jury system. The judges I’ve encountered have been uniformly prepared and considerate, even when pushed to most people’s breaking point. Please note that my experiences have involved New Haven civil and criminal courts, where the cream of the crop practice in terms of lawyers, both prosecutors and defense attorneys. In another life I would have been a criminal defense attorney, because I consider what they do the lifeblood of our system.

          The rage I referred to in my earlier comment has come from my last two years’ research; many cases I’ve dug into have involved prosecutors with political motives steering cases for their own benefit. This is still easiest to do with minority defendants, and even in a jurisdiction as laudable as the one where I live, I have seen members of my own community (mostly Black and Hispanic) trapped in webs of systemic unfairness. It seems much worse in the other states I’ve studied. That was my point. I meant no offense to you or anyone here. We’ve had a hear wave here, and I got a little overheated (my bad).

        • bmaz says:

          Marcy, yes to your 11:19 pm, exactly. And, frankly, DOJ should want a dope like this out with carte blanche to monitor him.

  3. Yogarhythms says:

    “ After all, Shroyer was uniquely prohibited from entering the grounds and being an asshole on January 6. ”
    Seditious Conspiracy never sounded so good. Violating DPA by personally leading, congressional proceeding violent delay, may lead to federal incarceration. Just the space one youthful white nationalist might seek introspection. Perhaps through farther wanderings down the TFG’s rabbit hole de-radicalization may be found?

  4. BobCon says:

    “But it certainly seems to be more than that.”

    I’m looking forward to the nitty gritty of how this might play out. I think DOJ has been sincere about giving some extra leeway to the press, even when that means the dirtballs. I don’t think they’re doing this for superficial reasons.

  5. JK says:

    I think that the Infowars “Sam Montoya” (DOJ charged as Samuel Christopher Montoya) seems to be the son of Rev. Samuel Montoya & wife Melba of Sinai Pentacostal Church in San Marcos TX.

  6. harpie says:

    What happened with Shroyer is what other January 6 defendants claim should have happened to them: misdemeanor charges in DC Superior Court, followed by a deferral.

    Does this mean the defense comparisons with protests of the Kavanaugh hearings?
    [I think I recall that at least Griffin and Hodgkins have tried it.]
    I wonder why they didn’t use this Shroyer comparison.

  7. harpie says:

    MAPS! in this THREAD:
    5:34 PM · Aug 21, 2021

    […] Shroyer’s [2/25/20] [DPA] agreement gives him a bigger no-go zone than other perps on Jan 6, but he and Alex Jones went well within even the ordinary restricted ground. Here is their path from speech 1 (NW corner) to speech 2 (E steps), in close-up (L) and with restricted zone shown (R). 10/ [screenshots] […]

    • harpie says:

      1/5/21 SHROYER: “InfoWars brought a lot of these people here..”
      4:02 PM · Aug 20, 2021

      […] Shroyer stuck to Alex’s side at the Capitol, stood by him as he gave his speech on the NW side.. 2/
      .. then trekked with Alex across the North Lawn, over the police line on the E. Plaza, and up the East Capitol Steps where Alex gave another speech. Alex closed his remarks [2nd speech, EAST STEPS] 2:23 PM, bugged out & down the stairs just before the first breach of the Columbus Doors at 2:25 PM. 3/ […]

      I think StoptheSteal Ali Alexander was with them all the way.

    • harpie says:

      Interesting THREAD by Marcy on the SHROYER/JONES topic:
      11:38 AM · Aug 23, 2021

      The charging of Owen Shroyer last week makes this Facebook reference from Stacie Getsinger more interesting. [LINK]

      [SG:] We went to the capital after President Trumps speech. When we arrived Alex Jones was there and told us all to go to the other side of the bldg. for Trumps next speech. […]

      […] So the government appears to have been very selective about which Jan 6ers they arrest for misdemeanor trespass, as they did the Getsingers based on what evidence they need validated to take the next step in their investigation (often it’s video evidence). […]

    • skua says:

      Speculating : Further evidence against Shroyer wan’t found and DOJ saw likely nothing more to be gained in delaying?

    • Leoghann says:

      Late?? This isn’t the one-person armed robbery of a bank here. They’re still tracking down witnesses and video, and trying to get information–and cross-reference it–from the witnesses they have. They’ve also already arrested 580-600 people, too. It will be January of next year before a substantial number of rioters/insurrectionists are arrested.

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    A tell, if one were needed, that Andrew Cuomo is a narcissistic power-hungry sociopath. In an apparently confirmed storyline, Cuomo has left the building. That is, never having made public any letter of resignation, he left the governor’s mansion. But he left his dog, Captain, behind, cavalierly asking the press corps if anyone wants him.

    In the UK, the arrogant dismissal of a pet dog no longer of use to him would get him stoned, in a way that no policy fuck-up ever could. (To wit, Dominic Raab’s vacationing during the fall of Afghanistan and Boris Johnson’s entire administration, not to mention his inability to remember how many children he’s had with various unremembered partners, have caused nary a flutter.)

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