WASHINGTON — An Iowa man who was charged with leading the mob that chased Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman during the Jan. 6 insurrection will stay in jail as his case goes forward; his lawyer told a judge Tuesday that he wouldn’t fight the government’s effort to keep him behind bars.
Prosecutors had petitioned to keep Douglas Jensen in jail after a judge in Iowa ruled last month that he could go home following his arrest and first court appearance. As Jensen waited — still in custody — for a federal judge in Washington, DC, to consider his situation, a grand jury returned a new indictment that added more serious charges, including weapons offenses. By the time he finally appeared by video for a detention hearing on Tuesday, his lawyer notified the judge that they weren’t going to press for his release at all but reserved the right to bring it up later, depending on the evidence they get from prosecutors.
A video recorded inside the Capitol on Jan. 6 by a HuffPost reporter showed Jensen gesturing and yelling at Goodman as the officer tried to control a crowd of rioters. Jensen, at the front of the mob, then appears to chase Goodman. He is facing multiple felony charges, including that he obstructed Congress from certifying the results of the presidential election; assaulted, resisted, or interfered with police; and carried a “dangerous or deadly weapon” when he illegally went into the Capitol — in his case, a knife with a 3-inch blade. Jensen isn’t charged with using the knife, but just having it in his pocket at the time escalated the severity of the charges he faces.
Jensen went home to Des Moines after participating in the insurrection and was arrested on Jan. 8. Shortly before his arrest — and after the video of him inside the Capitol had spread quickly online — he walked into a police station in Des Moines and agreed to an interview with a police detective and an FBI agent; according to the government, he said that he wanted to speak with someone because he believed he was in trouble. During that interview, he said that he was a follower of the QAnon mass delusion and traveled to Washington on Jan. 6 because he believed President Donald Trump was going to order the arrest of Vice President Mike Pence and other members of the “corrupt government” and he wanted to see that.
Jensen said he was disappointed when Trump didn’t announce any arrests at the “Stop the Steal” rally that day but thought something was going to happen at the Capitol after the then-president encouraged his supporters to go there. “I’m all about the revolution,” he told police, according to court documents. Jensen admitted going into the Capitol through a broken window, chasing Goodman and threatening to take the officer’s baton, disobeying his orders to leave the building, and deleting his social media accounts afterward.
Although the government’s detention request ended up unopposed, US District Judge Timothy Kelly stated for the record on Tuesday that he agreed with prosecutors that Jensen posed a danger to the community if released. Kelly said that Jensen was charged with “gravely serious” crimes and that the evidence against him was “substantial.” He noted that Jensen had told police after the insurrection that he’d gone to the Capitol because he was “all about” revolution.
“I don’t have a basis to conclude that Mr. Jensen’s interest in revolution against the United States government and his willingness to use force to accomplish that goal has come to an end,” Kelly said.
Goodman has been lauded as a hero for leading the crowd of rioters away from the Senate chamber and lawmakers by himself. During Trump’s impeachment trial earlier this month, House Democrats shared previously unseen surveillance camera footage of Goodman frantically directing Sen. Mitt Romney away from the rioters. He was named the acting deputy Senate sergeant at arms and escorted Vice President Kamala Harris to the Capitol on Inauguration Day.
A federal grand jury in DC returned a six-count indictment on Jan. 11 that charged Jensen with two felonies — civil disorder and assaulting, resisting, or impeding law enforcement — and four misdemeanor counts for entering the Capitol and disorderly conduct. A federal magistrate judge in Iowa denied the government’s request to keep him in jail pending trial on Jan. 19, but prosecutors successfully petitioned Kelly to delay his release pending another round of review; all of the Capitol insurrection cases are being handled in DC, even if defendants are arrested and make their first court appearances in their home state.
While Jensen was waiting for a judge in DC to reconsider whether he should stay behind bars, the grand jury came back with a new indictment on Feb. 10 that added a new felony count for obstructing an official proceeding of Congress and turned two of the original misdemeanors into felonies because he was accused of carrying a “deadly or dangerous weapon” in the Capitol. He’s one of a growing number of defendants who are seeing their felony counts stack up as prosecutors take these cases before a grand jury.