Texas Man Pleads Guilty Over Breach of US Capitol Charges

Texas Man Pleads Guilty Over Breach of US Capitol Charges
U.S. Capitol Police detain protesters outside of the House Chamber on Jan. 6, 2021. Nolan Cooke, 23, of Savoy, Texas, was one of the first to break through a line of U.S. Capitol police officers, according to court documents. Cooke pleaded guilty March 9 to a list of charges. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Patrick Butler

Nolan Bernard Cooke, 23, one of 60 Texans charged in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol, pleaded guilty on March 9 to a felony charge of civil disorder for helping lead the breach.

Cooke faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 10.

On March 8, Guy Wesley Reffitt, 49, of Wylie, Texas, became the first person to be convicted by a jury for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol breach. He'll be sentenced on June 8.

Hundreds of defendants have been charged in connection with the incident, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

The Dallas FBI field office has arrested more people for their part in the Jan. 6 breach than any field office in the United States.

Cooke, of Savoy, Texas, was arrested on charges of unlawful activities on Capitol grounds, disorderly or disruptive conduct, entering and remaining on restricted buildings or grounds, and acts of civil disorder.

He was among the first line of those who broke through U.S. Capitol police officers, according to court documents.

A tip to authorities that Cooke had filmed the breach and posted video and photographs online, led to an investigation. Cooke posted a personal message to a friend on Instagram.

“I wouldn’t want anyone other than you with me to take on the revolution,” the message reads.

Cooke went to Washington because he wanted to be heard, he told authorities. According to court documents, he brought firearms with him, but left them in a car.

In exchange for his plea, Cooke won’t face any other criminal charges.

Two North Texans have pleaded guilty to taking part in the Capitol breach. Troy Smocks, 59, of Dallas, was sentenced to 14 months in prison in October 2021 after pleading guilty to a felony count of making an interstate threat based on social media posts from his Washington hotel room on Jan. 6 and Jan. 7, 2021.

In November, Frisco resident Jenna Ryan was sentenced to 60 days in prison after she pleaded guilty to a Class B misdemeanor for parading, demonstrating, or picketing within a Capitol building. She was released in February after serving her sentence.

Ryan’s punishment of 60 days in prison was stricter than most who pleaded to a similar misdemeanor, which ranges from 24 months of probation to six months in prison, according to WFAA in Dallas.

“I think a ticket and $500 fine is the proper punishment for people involved,” Ryan said.

At the FBI Field Office in Dallas, Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno said in a statement that “individuals charged and arrested used the guise of the First Amendment-protected activity to incite violence and wreak havoc.”