A Colorado geophysicist accused of dragging a police officer down steps to be beaten by fellow rioters wielding an American flag outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was found guilty at a federal bench trial.
A judge convicted Jeffrey Sabol on Friday of three felonies, including assaulting, resisting and impeding officers with a deadly weapon after evidence showed the 53-year-old stormed the building with a trauma kit, zip ties, a helmet and a hunting kit with a group he called “the neighborhood watch,” court documents said.
Both sides agreed to let the judge, not a jury, hear the evidence and issue verdicts.
Sabol of Kittredge flew to Washington, D.C., with the group to attend a rally by then President Donald Trump before marching to the Capitol, according to court documents.
Surveillance video shows Sabol was part of the crowd that pushed through barricades of police officers who were guarding the west entrance, before officers with riot shields pushed him back causing him to tumble down a set of stairs.
Later, Sabol and another rioter grabbed the visor of a Metropolitan Police officer. Sabol is also seen with two other rioters assaulting a Capitol police officer, dragging him down the stairs and into the crowd, where rioters beat the man with weapons, a baton and a flagpole, court documents said.
Sabol was also found guilty of obstruction of an official proceeding, aiding and abetting, and federal robbery. His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 19.
In the days after the insurrection, Sabol became concerned that he would be arrested for his involvement, according to court documents, and he deleted text messages, microwaved a laptop and dropped his cellphone in a body of water to try to prevent law enforcement from finding it.
He also tried to flee the country by booking a flight to Switzerland, where he would not be able to be extradited to the U.S. When that plan fell through, he allegedly tried to kill himself.
Police officers pulled him over in New York, near Westchester, in January 2021 when they noticed him driving erratically. A judge deemed him as a flight risk and ordered he be held in jail through his sentencing. More than 1,100 people have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for their involvement in the Jan. 6 attacks, according to the U.S. District Attorney’s Office. At least 16 are from Colorado.