Closure Mandate-Defying Victorville Gym Owner Enters Plea On January 6 Protest Charge

Jacob Lewis, the now 38-year-old Donald Trump supporter who defied Governor Gavin Newsom’s mandate to shutter his Victorville business as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19 in 2020 and thereafter sojourned across the country to storm the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, has accepted a plea deal with federal prosecutors over insurrection charges lodged against him last year.
Lewis, despite wearing a red beanie and a black neck and face gaiter as well as a grey hoodie while he was both inside and outside the Capitol building, was among the first of those identified by the FBI as having taken part in what prosecutors say was an effort to overthrow the government.
On January 8, 2021, an informant told a federal agent Lewis “flew from Victorville, CA to Washington, D.C. to attack the Capitol along with many Trump supporters to stop the certification of the electoral college,” according to the complaint against Lewis filed on January 26, 2021.
On January 11, 2021 someone who claimed to be Lewis’s friend said Lewis told him in December 2020 to “watch what happens to the Capitol on the 6th,” according to the federal complaint. An FBI technician thereafter accessed Lewis’s Instagram page, which displayed a video taken by Lewis posted on January 6, 2021 showing a crowd on the Capitol steps, according to the complaint. A corresponding Capitol Police video taken at the same approximate time showed Lewis transiting the Capitol’s corridors and passing through doors into the Senate’s wing.
Contacted by the FBI, “Lewis admitted that following the rally, he walked toward the Capitol, and that he then entered the capitol building with a number of people after it had been breached by others,” according to the U.S. Justice Department. “He stated that he was never told that he could not enter, and that he was ‘escorted’ by the police in the building. He stated that he did not partake in any violence while he was in the building and that he believed that some individuals involved in agitating were Antifa members in disguise.”
The Capitol Police video did not show Lewis had a police escort.
Lewis was preliminarily charged on January 26, 2021 and arrested on January 27, 2021. He was charged via criminal information on February 9, 2021 with entering a restricted federal building; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building; violent entry into a capitol building; and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a capitol building. He was not charged with making false statements to the FBI. He pleaded not guilty to all four counts against him on March 4, 2021.
Records show that in a plea arrangement worked out by his lawyers David Bigney and Dan Eckhart, Lewis pleaded guilty on January 6, 2022 to parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a capitol building. The other charges were dropped.
In May 2020, Lewis re-opened his Victorville gym despite California’s lockdown on businesses in which exposure to the coronavirus was likely to occur. He asserted gyms were crucial to maintaining physical and mental health.
“If our corrupt elected politicians in this state won’t open our economy, then #WeThePeople will!” he posted at the time.
He is to be sentenced on April 14. It is anticipated he will receive no more than the potential maximum sentence of up to six months in prison and five-years’ probation. The judge is not bound by the plea arrangement, however, and for that reason Bigney and Eckhart have advised Lewis to dispense with any of his further trademark utterances referring to Newsom and President Joseph Biden as “traitors” and “communists.”

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