JUSTICE

Willard Peart: 4th Utahn federally charged for participating in Capitol riot

Apr 27, 2021, 6:27 PM
Willard Peart Utahn capitol riot...
Willard Peart, highlighted with a red arrow, seen protesting inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Photo credit: FBI

SALT LAKE CITY – A fourth person is facing federal charges for his participation in the riot at the U.S. Capitol in early January.  And legal analysts say that even if he didn’t cause any damage, he still participated in the crime. 

(Prosecutors say Peart posted this picture of the protest to his Facebook page. Photo Courtesy FBI)

The charges stem from a conversation Willard Peart of Toquerville had with FBI investigators on January 20th.  Charging documents say Peart and his attorney told investigators he attended the pro-Trump rally on the 6th, then walked to the U.S. Capitol Building.  Peart stated he had no initial plans to go inside but decided to enter after seeing other protesters go in.

The document states, “According to Peart, upon entering, he roved around the first floor between the Senate Chamber and Statuary Hall. While roving, Peart joined other rioters in chanting and calling out politicians.”

Prosecutors say video footage from inside the Capitol confirms Willard Peart didn’t participate in destroying any portion of the building, nor did he assault anyone.  However, they say he knowingly entered into a restricted building with an intention to disrupt government business.

“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,” documents state.

Peart is charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful activity, disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building. 

Former prosecutor, Kent Morgan, who is not connected to this case, said those charges seem quite lenient.  He also said that just because a building is a “government building,” that doesn’t always mean it’s a public area.

“[Protesters] not only entered the Capitol and broke windows on the way in, but they entered everyone’s office, as well,” Morgan said.

Even if Peart only went inside after seeing others do so, Morgan says Peart took part in the illegal activity by joining the chanting.

(Peart, highlighted with the red arrow, seen being escorted out of the Capitol. Photo: FBI)

“No matter what the cause is, once you engage in an activity that creates physical danger to someone else, then you’ve passed the Constitution [protected things] and you’ve gone into criminal activity,” says Morgan.  “Are you a party to the crime?  Yes, you are.”

Morgan believes federal prosecutors are cracking down heavily on everyone who participates in violent protests.  For instance, four people were federally charged last August for overturning a Salt Lake City Police car and setting it on fire during the violent protest downtown.

He said, “I think they’re attempting to dissuade people in the future from engaging in this sort of activity.”

Today’s Top Stories

Justice

Former President Donald Trump is pictured....
Katelyn Polantz, Zachary Cohen, Sara Murray and Marshall Cohen, CNN

FBI took 11 sets of classified documents from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, including some highly classified material

The search warrant identifies three federal crimes that the DOJ is looking at as part of its investigation, which includes violations of the Espionage Act.
4 days ago
A west valley police car is pictured. Police just made an arrest in the recent hit and run...
Samantha Herrera

Police arrest suspect in West Valley hit-and-run that killed 11-year-old boy

A 45-year-old man has been arrested in relation to a hit and run in West Valley City that killed an 11-year-old boy.
4 days ago
garland unseal Trump...
Tierney Sneed, CNN

Merrick Garland says FBI files motion to unseal Trump Mar-a-Lago warrant

The move comes after days of silence from the Justice Department regarding the search, as is the department's practice for ongoing investigations.
5 days ago
A Utah lawmaker is considering proposing an amendment to the state's constitution if the trigger la...
Simone Seikaly

Utah Attorney General asks for permission to appeal trigger law injunction

The injunction bars enforcement of SB 174, Utah's abortion "trigger law" until a lawsuit in district court is resolved.
5 days ago
A jury of six women and four men was selected Wednesday in Vanessa Bryant's lawsuit against Los Ang...
By Eric Levenson, Natasha Chen and Jason Kravarik, CNN

Jury selected in Vanessa Bryant’s case against LA County over photos of Kobe’s helicopter crash

A jury of six women and four men was selected Wednesday in Vanessa Bryant's lawsuit against Los Angeles County over gruesome photos taken of the fatal helicopter crash that killed her husband Kobe, daughter Gianna and seven others.
5 days ago
Prosecutors seek 8-year prison term for police officer involved with Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol...
MICHAEL KUNZELMAN Associated Press

Feds seek 8-year prison term for officer who stormed Capitol

Prosecutors say former Rocky Mount Police Sgt. Thomas Robertson used his law enforcement training to block police officers who were trying to protect the Capitol from a mob’s attack on Jan. 6, 2021.
8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Willard Peart: 4th Utahn federally charged for participating in Capitol riot