Capitol rioter from Iowa called ‘leader of the mob’ by police did not testify in his trial

By: - September 22, 2022 8:12 pm

Thousands of President Donald Trump’s supporters storm the U.S. Capitol building following a “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Iowan Doug Jensen did not testify and his lawyers did not call any witnesses in his defense as he stands trial for his role in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection.

Closing arguments are scheduled for Friday and then the federal jury in the District of Columbia is expected to begin deliberations after the weeklong trial.

U.S. Capitol Police Inspector Thomas Lloyd, who testified at the trial this week, described Jensen as “leader of the mob” headed into the Capitol during the 2021 riot. Jensen, of Des Moines, became a widely recognized figure when video circulated on social media of him, wearing a “Q” T-shirt, at the front of a mob pursuing a U.S. Capitol police officer up a staircase.

Defense attorney Christopher Davis said Tuesday in his opening remarks that no one is contesting that Jensen participated in the insurrection. But Jensen was not violent and did not damage federal property, he said.

“This is not a whodunit case,” Davis said. “Literally, the whole case is on video.”

Jurors were shown multiple well-known photos and videos of Jensen’s participation in the U.S. Capitol, including footage of him climbing up the side of an outside staircase as protesters attempted to break into the building. Another video showed him advancing through a cloud of spray erupting from a ruptured fire extinguisher. The trial also featured two concurrent video recordings of the altercation when Jensen was seen running up stairs in pursuit of a Capitol police officer.

That officer, Eugene Goodman, testified at the trial. He told jurors Wednesday about his assignment at the Capitol rotunda that day, which was to guard U.S. senators and House members moving between chambers as they certified the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Goodman was stationed outside for part of the day, where he was hit with bear spray and tear gas deployed by law enforcement, he told jurors. He went inside and vomited in a bucket once back-up officers had arrived, he said, before returning outside. When the mob broke into the Capitol, he went inside to direct politicians, including U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, away from the crowd.

As the rioters approached, Goodman said he was prodded with a Confederate flag. By the time of his confrontation with Jensen, he had “no out” except going up the stairs, he said.

“I felt like they were going to rush at any time,” Goodman said.

FBI Special Agent Tyler Johnson testified Thursday, describing the “Q-Anon” shirt Jensen wore and the 3-inch pocket knife he carried that day. As one of the people who interviewed Jensen when he turned himself in, Johnson answered questions from the defense saying that Jensen was “coherent” during his interview, and was not verbally aggressive.

Jensen was one of the first of many arrested and charged for their actions at the U.S. Capitol that day, where supporters of former President Donald Trump gathered to contest President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election. Many of the participants were followers of the “QAnon” conspiracy theory, believing that Trump had plans to reveal and punish a child sex trafficking ring among the wealthy and influential.

Nearly 900 people have been charged for federal crimes in relation to the riot, and roughly 400 have pleaded guilty. Jensen, one of eight Iowans charged in relation to the event, did not yet have any warrants out for his arrest when he walked to a police station and turned himself in the day after he returned from Washington, D.C. He has been in custody for nearly the entire 18 months since his arrest.

Jensen faces charges of civil disorder, resisting or impeding officers and obstruction of an official proceeding. None of the defendants involved in the insurrection have been acquitted of their charges in jury trials.

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Robin Opsahl
Robin Opsahl

Robin Opsahl is an Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter covering the state Legislature and politics. Robin has experience covering government, elections and more at media organizations including Roll Call, the Sacramento Bee and the Wausau Daily Herald, in addition to working on multimedia projects, newsletters and visualizations. They were a political reporter for the Des Moines Register covering the Iowa caucuses leading up to the 2020 presidential election, assisting with the Register's Iowa Poll, and reporting on Iowa's 4th District elections.

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