IN-DEPTH: Jan. 6 Prisoners, Defendants and Family Members Determined to Vote for Donald Trump

‘I believe President Trump is the only person who will pardon the January 6-ers and help them put their lives back together.’

Despite their challenges, Jan. 6 prisoners, defendants, and family members say they will be voting for Donald Trump in November.

It’s been three years since the protests at the Capitol building in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. Since then, participants have been hunted and arrested by the FBI and prosecuted by the Department of Justice. Many have lost their jobs, their homes — and their freedom. Family members have been shunned, attacked, and threatened. Yet, while some admit that their resolve has been tested, most remain loyal to Donald Trump and vow to vote for him.

In interviews with The Epoch Times, a collection of Jan. 6 defendants, prisoners, and family members share their reasons.

‘Promising to Pardon’

Jacob “Jake” Edward Lang is a Jan. 6 defendant incarcerated in the Washington jail for over three years without a trial.

Mr. Lang, a 28-year-old resident of Newburgh, New York, has been charged with several counts, including an “obstruction” charge, for which he could receive a 20-year sentence. Mr. Lang has challenged this charge with the Supreme Court.

Because he has yet to be convicted of any crimes, Mr. Lang can vote.

When first incarcerated, Mr. Lang admits he hoped to see more from President Trump in standing up for Jan. 6ers. He wanted to see public rallies on their behalf, a march through Washington DC, reminiscent of those by Martin Luther King, Jr. during the civil rights movement.

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“For the last three years, I feel like history is calling President Trump to that position, to come out in full, unadulterated support of the Jan. 6ers,” he told The Epoch Times. “But for the first two years, the messaging was insufficient. So, I had misgivings. But since his criminal indictment for January 6, he has more skin in the game, and he has been calling us ‘political hostages’ and promising to pardon us.”

Jake Lang rescued Philip Anderson from a stampede pile at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo Courtesy of Jake Lang)
Jake Lang rescued Philip Anderson from a stampede pile at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo Courtesy of Jake Lang)

“My support for him has grown stronger seeing how he has handled his indictments and persecutions for January 6 and how he’s come out with even more unwavering support for J-6 political prisoners as time’s gone on,” he added. “I want to see more from him. But I am happy with his messaging as of recently.”

‘The Only One I Trust’

Rachel Myers is the fiancé of Mr. Lang.

“I am voting for Donald Trump for a multitude of reasons,” Ms. Myers told The Epoch Times, saying she’s “been a Trump supporter since he announced in 2015 that he was going to run.”

“My support hasn’t wavered even slightly,” she asserted. “I’m voting for him because he’s the only one I trust. I’m voting for him because he’s for average everyday people, whether you’re a farmer or you have the biggest business ever. He wants everybody to make money, to thrive and survive, and to make this country work. But he also wants everyone to pay less in taxes and for groceries and gas, the everyday simple things that are hard for anyone to afford right now.”

She’s also “voting for Donald Trump because he deserves it.”

“I’m voting for Donald Trump so he can free these political prisoners because no one else is going to,” she added. “For them, he’s their only hope.”

‘A Posthumous Pardon’

Geri Perna is the aunt of Matthew Perna.

Mr. Perna, who lived in Pennsylvania, was indicted by a grand jury in February 2021 on four counts, including the obstruction charge. Fearing an extended prison sentence, he took his own life on Feb 25, 2022. He was 37.

Geri Perna (Courtesy of Geri Perna).
Geri Perna (Courtesy of Geri Perna).

After her nephew’s death, she moved from Pennsylvania to Florida.

Despite his death, she said she is “definitely voting for President Trump again.”

“I believe President Trump is the only person who will pardon the January 6ers and help them put their lives back together,” she told The Epoch Times. “Obviously, my nephew’s life can’t be put back together. It’s over. But I still want a posthumous pardon for my nephew. I want his name to be cleared.”

Matthew Perna, January 6 defendant who hung himself due to his fear of being incarcerated for over a decade. (Courtesy of Geri Perna)
Matthew Perna, January 6 defendant who hung himself due to his fear of being incarcerated for over a decade. (Courtesy of Geri Perna)

“Of the candidates that dropped out, none of them were going to give pardons,” she recalled. “DeSantis wasn’t going to give a pardon, and you certainly can’t expect Joe Biden, whose Justice Department is ruining the lives of thousands of people who showed up to exercise their freedom of speech, to give them a pardon.”

‘The Only Viable Candidate’

Brandon Straka, founder of the #WalkAway campaign, went to DC on Jan. 6, 2021. He did not enter the Capitol building.

He was arrested on Jan. 25, 2021, in Omaha, Nebraska, and charged with three misdemeanors. On Jan. 24, 2022, he was sentenced to 36 months of probation, received a $5,000 fine, and was ordered to pay $500 restitution and a $10 special assessment.
President Donald Trump and #WalkAway founder Brandon Straka. (Courtesy of Brandon Straka)
President Donald Trump and #WalkAway founder Brandon Straka. (Courtesy of Brandon Straka)

In an interview with The Epoch Times, Mr. Straka said, “I’ll be voting for Donald Trump if he’s the candidate.”

“The driving factor for me in supporting Donald Trump is my concern about Democrats being in power,” he explained, saying that Vivek Ramaswamy was the only other candidate “who seemed to truly understand the threat of the current situation we’re in” regarding the “globalist agenda.”

“America is on a collision course under the control of Democrats,” he said. “There seems to be an almost willful and intentional agenda to devastate our economy, decimate our Constitution, eradicate our borders, and to destabilize our country in general. I see it very clearly. To me, the only candidate I could ever consider is someone who recognizes this threat and is making a vow to stand up against it. At this moment, the only viable candidate in the race is Donald Trump.”

Regarding the idea that any Jan. 6ers would be angry enough to consider an alternative candidate, Mr. Straka was resolute.

“I think there are plenty of Jan. 6ers who feel like he wasn’t substantially supportive,” he admitted. “But I can’t imagine that anyone is going to vote for Joe Biden.”

‘It Wasn’t His Fault’

Angel Harrelson is the wife of Ken Harrelson, currently incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia.

On May 26, 2023, he was sentenced to 48 months in prison and 24 months of supervised release.

In a Feb. 1 phone interview with Mrs. Harrelson, she said her husband is being released early for good behavior.

Angel and Ken Harrelson pose for a photo at the Unites States Prison in Atlanta, Georgia on their 14th anniversary on October 1, 2023 (Courtesy of Angel Harrelson).
Angel and Ken Harrelson pose for a photo at the Unites States Prison in Atlanta, Georgia on their 14th anniversary on October 1, 2023 (Courtesy of Angel Harrelson).

“I was supposed to pick him up yesterday,” she told The Epoch Times. “But they changed the date at the last minute and didn’t tell me. I drove 500 miles to find out I had to go home without him.”

His new release date is Feb. 6.

“I’ve never voted for a president before in my life,” she told The Epoch Times, adding that her husband hasn’t voted for a president either.

“I’m going to vote this time,” she vowed. “Less than a week ago, I switched from no party affiliation to Republican just so I could vote for Donald Trump.”

Florida is a closed primary state, meaning, aside from special circumstances, electors must register as a Republican or a Democrat to vote in each party’s respective primary elections.
Despite his felony conviction, an Oct. 14, 2020, amendment to Florida’s voting laws has allowed Mr. Harrelson to cast his ballot in November.

“I can tell you right now, he’s voting for Trump!” She exclaimed.

Asked if what she and her husband had been through for the past three years had dampened their support for President Trump, she said, “It’s only strengthened it.”

“It wasn’t his fault,” she said. “We don’t blame him for anything.”

‘The Most Superior Candidate’

Paul Hodgkins was arrested at his home in Tampa, Florida, on Feb. 16, 2021.

According to the Feb. 9, 2021, Statement of Facts, Mr. Hodgkins traveled alone by bus from Florida to Washington and was in the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021. CCTV footage showed him standing on the Senate floor.
He was indicted on five counts, including obstruction, on March 5, 2021. He was arraigned on March 11, 2021, and sentenced to eight months of incarceration on July 19, 2021, followed by two years of supervised release.
Paul Hodgkins stands before a portrait of President Donald Trump at the Lincoln Day Dinner at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, on March 17, 2023 (Courtesy of Paul Hodgkins).
Paul Hodgkins stands before a portrait of President Donald Trump at the Lincoln Day Dinner at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, on March 17, 2023 (Courtesy of Paul Hodgkins).

In a phone interview with The Epoch Times, Mr. Hodgkins said part of his plea deal was that the lesser charges would be dropped if he pleaded guilty to obstruction.

“Then the US attorney would ask the judge for 18 months and three years’ probation,” he explained. “He gave me eight months in prison and two years’ probation. Plus, I had to pay $2,000 in restitution.”

It’s a deal he now regrets taking.

However, because of the new Florida voting law and the Supreme Court’s recent decision to take up a Jan. 6 defendant’s appeal regarding the Department of Justice’s unique use of that obstruction law, he may be able to cast a ballot in November. If so, Mr. Hodgkins said, “I will be voting and campaigning for Donald Trump in this election.”

“First and foremost,” he said, he will be voting for Mr. Trump “on principle.

“I know what this means for our country and what that’s going to mean going down in history, and also believe that of all of the choices we have right now, he is by far the best resolve for solving the problems the American people are facing.”

Even if President Trump wasn’t pledging to pardon Jan. 6ers, Mr. Hodgkins said, “He’s the most superior candidate we have.”

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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