White supremacist internet personality Tim Gionet, popularly known as Baked Alaska, derailed his plea deal with federal prosecutors by pleading not guilty in a last-minute turn of events in a case related to the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. from USA
Mr. Gionet was set to plead guilty in Washington DC federal court on Wednesday to one misdemeanor charge of willfully and knowingly parading, rallying and picketing inside the Capitol.
But when asked by Judge Emmett Sullivan why he wanted to plead guilty, the live streamer said he wanted to go to trial.
“I wanted to go to trial, but the prosecutors [said] if I [went] at trial, I would be charged with a felony, so I think this is probably the best route,” he said, according to NBC News. “I think I’m innocent.”
He was charged in January with violent entry and disorderly conduct. One of the most serious charges against him stems from Gionet’s live feed of himself entering the Capitol building on January 6. The video record has helped federal officials identify and arrest dozens of other suspected participants in the insurrection.
He allegedly called a police officer a “shitty oath breaker” and a “piece of shit”, while he and others can be heard chanting “patriots are in control”, “whose house? our house” and “traitors”. , traitors, traitors”.
He was originally facing charges of entering or remaining on restricted grounds without legal authority and disorderly conduct in the building. He carries a possible jail sentence of six months, up to five years of probation and a fine of up to $5,000.
After his statement, the judge said that “he cannot plead guilty if he says he is innocent.”
“If Mr. Gionet wants to go to trial, he will get a fair trial, as will each and every one who has appeared before me, regardless of the charges,” Sullivan said. “I’m not trying to trick you… Don’t plead guilty to please me.”
The trial date was set for March 2023.
Federal prosecutors denied Gionet’s allegations that he was threatened with additional felony charges and said they would investigate the charges against him if he pleaded not guilty.
Assistant US Attorney Elizabeth Ann Aloi said the plea offer would remain open for 60 days, giving Gionet a chance if he changes his mind.
“Thanks for the extra time, I appreciate it,” Gionet told Sullivan.
“Sure, these things happen,” the judge replied. “I wasn’t born yesterday.”