Southern Utah man is 4th Utahn facing charges in Jan. 6 riot, breach of U.S. Capitol

Willard Jake Peart, of Toquerville is believed to be shown in photographic evidence he was at the Capitol Building during the Jan 6, 2021 attack on the building. Photo: justice.gov

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 27, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — A Toquerville man has become the fourth Utahn federally charged in connection with the assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 of this year.

Willard Jake Peart, of Toquerville, was charged last week on suspicion of:

  • Knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority
  • Disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds
  • Parading demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol Building

The special agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation filed a report on Peart’s case. The officer noted that a joint session was meeting in order to determine whether to certify the vote count of the electoral college for the presidential election. Besides Senators and Representatives, Vice Pres. Mike Pence was in attendance.

At about 2 p.m. that day, “individuals in the crowd forced entry into the U.S. Capitol, including by breaking windows and by assaulting members of the U.S. Capitol Police, as others in the crowd encouraged and assisted those acts,” the agent’s statement says. At about 2:20, the elected leaders were evacuated for their own safety.

An initial meeting with Peart and his attorney was conducted on Jan. 20, Department of Justice documents say.

“During the interview, PEART advised that he traveled to Washington D.C. from Utah to attend the Trump rally. After the rally, Peart walked over to the U.S. Capitol Building.

“Peart claimed that he did not initially intend to go inside of the U.S. Capitol Building. Once Peart saw other rioters enter the U.S. Capitol Building, he decided to enter.”

Willard Jake Peart, of Toquerville, is believed to be shown in photographic evidence he was at the Capitol Building during the Jan 6, 2021 attack on the building. Officials say Peart posted this photo on his Facebook page. Photo: justice.gov

The reports notes that “Peart did not know what the rioter intended to do with the board. Peart did not participate in the destruction of the U.S. Capitol Building. Video footage confirmed that Peart did not participate in the destruction of the building.

“Additionally, Peart admitted to observing a bag positioned outside of the U.S. Capitol Building belonging to law enforcement. Peart observed that the bag contained two canisters of pepper spray. Peart did not remove the canisters from the bag and did not assault any member of law enforcement while inside/outside the U.S. Capitol Building.”

Peart said his cellphone batteries had died shortly after he entered the Capitol, and he provided that phone to investigators. Peart’s cellular telephone contained photographs of Peart while he was outside of the U.S. Capitol Building.

“Peart confessed to entering the U.S. Capitol Building through the northwest entrance
near the Senate chamber. According to PEART, upon entering, he roved around the first floor between the Senate Chamber and Statuary Hall,” the statement says. “While roving, Peart joined other rioters in chanting and calling out politicians. Peart provided a detailed sequence of his actions and movements outside and within the U.S. Capitol but was unaware of the duration or timeline of events.”

Capitol surveillance video captured Peart entering the building and standing near the Senate Wing Door. Peart removed his jacket and hat, eventually pulling out a red Trump flag and wrapping himself in the flag, the statement says.

Willard Jake Peart, of Toquerville, is believed to be shown in photographic evidence he was at the Capitol Building during the Jan 6, 2021 attack on the building. Photo: justice.gov

“Peart admitted to knowingly entering the U.S. Capitol Building with the intent that his
entry would impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions,” the statement says.

“While inside, Peart’s conduct was disorderly and disruptive due to the fact that PEART chanted loudly inside while parading and demonstrating inside of the building. At no time did Peart have permission to be inside of the U.S. Capitol Building.”

The other Utahns charged in the U.S. Capitol riot are activist John Sullivan, St. George resident Brady Knowlton, and Kaysville resident and former Salt Lake City Police Officer Michael Lee Hardin

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