Alleged Capitol Rioter Back in Jail After Using Internet to Watch Conspiracy Theory Videos

An Iowa man allegedly involved in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack was ordered by a federal judge on Thursday to return to jail after he used the internet to view conspiracy theory videos about the 2020 presidential election, the Associated Press reported.

Doug Jensen, 42, violated rules established when he was initially released from jail in mid-July, U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly said. Those rules included a provision that he couldn't access the internet or use a cellphone upon his release.

A federal officer found Jensen in his garage in August watching news on his iPhone from a streaming platform called Rumble, which is a favorite among conservatives. Prosecutors requested on Aug. 19 that his release from jail be reversed in light of the findings.

Kelly ordered marshals stationed at the federal courthouse to take Jensen back into custody immediately.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Doug Jensen Ordered Back to Jail
A prosecutor says Doug Jensen, a QAnon follower, seen in a videotaped confrontation with a police officer during the Capitol insurrection violated terms of his release by watching internet videos about the Jan. 6, 2021, attack and should be returned to custody until trial. This undated photo provided by Polk County, Iowa Jail shows Jensen. Polk County Jail via AP

Jensen acknowledged that he had earlier watched two days of the cyber symposium sponsored by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, an ally of former President Donald Trump who used the event to push false theories that the presidential election's outcome was changed by Chinese hackers.

Kelly noted that he had released Jensen from jail on July 13 after Jensen claimed he had an awakening behind bars and realized the QAnon conspiracy theory to which he adhered was a "pack of lies." The judge said he put in place the strict conditions, including the internet ban, because Jensen had previously spent years following online conspiracies and acknowledged he had become a "true believer" and "digital soldier."

Kelly said it was significant that Jensen's violations were caught during the first unannounced visit to his home by pretrial services officers.

"It's now clear that he has not experienced a transformation and that he continues to seek out those conspiracy theories that led to his dangerous conduct on Jan. 6," Kelly said. "I don't see any reason to believe that he has had the wake-up call that he needs."

Kelly said it was unlikely that Jensen would be able to follow any other conditions of release barring internet use and that he had lost confidence in Jensen's wife to serve as his third-party custodian. Prosecutors contended that she had facilitated his violations by leaving the phone on when she left for work.

Jensen's attorney, Christopher Davis, had asked the court to give his client another chance. He argued that Jensen had complied with other release conditions, including staying home on electronic monitoring and avoiding drug use, and that his violations in no way endangered public safety.

He said his client acknowledged the violations but said that it was "Orwellian" for the government to seek to jail a man who was sitting in his garage listening to the news.

Jensen was among the first people to enter the Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack, crawling through a broken window. On Thursday, prosecutors cited new video evidence to claim he was also among the last to leave over an hour later, scuffling with officers on his way out.

He told investigators he positioned himself as one of the riot leaders because he was wearing a shirt promoting QAnon and he wanted the theory to get the credit. Jensen was widely photographed during the attack.

Jensen had a knife in his pocket when he led a crowd of people toward Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman, who was by himself and had only a baton. The crowd chased Goodman up a flight of stairs toward the Senate chamber as Jensen ignored Goodman's orders to stop and put his hands up.

Before his July release, Jensen had spent six months in jail after he was arrested Jan. 8. He faces the prospect of years in prison, and lawyers on both sides said Thursday they were unsure if the case could be resolved in a plea or would go to trial.

Jensen is charged with seven counts, including aggravated assault, obstruction of a law enforcement officer during a civil disorder, unlawfully entering a restricted building while carrying a dangerous weapon and disorderly conduct.

Rioters Attack Capitol
Doug Jensen was allegedly among the mob of former President Donald Trump's supporters that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6. Supporters of US President Donald Trump clash with the US Capitol police during a riot at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images