A Los Angeles County man was sentenced Tuesday to four years and three months behind bars for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol.
Edward Badalian, 29, of Panorama City, was also sentenced in the District of Columbia to serve three years of supervised release after he is released from prison, and pay $2,000 in restitution and fines, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Badalian was convicted in April by U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson of conspiracy, obstruction of an official proceeding, and entering and remaining in a restricted building.
His actions helped disrupt a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the 2020 presidential election.
According to the evidence presented at the non-jury trial, in the fall of 2020, Badalian, co-defendant Daniel Rodriguez, and others created a Telegram group chat titled "PATRIOTS45MAGA Gang." The group, initially created to bring together supporters of former President Donald Trump in the lead-up to the 2020 Presidential election, became a forum for Badalian and Rodriguez's plans for violence against the seat of the federal government, according to the DOJ.
In the group, Badalian and Rodriguez wrote hundreds of messages about war, revolution, traitors, and tyrants.
As early as the fall of 2020, after the results of the 2020 election came in, Badalian wrote in the Telegram group: "time to arrest biden lol" and the next day, making clear that he was calling for the use of violence, Badalian sent the group a photograph of an individual holding an assault rifle.
Evidence showed he wrote, "stay strapped foo. its not a game anymore." Days later, Badalian escalated from talk of arrests to calls for executions. On Nov. 9, 2020, Badalian wrote, "If theyre guilty of treason they should be executed," adding, "Biden is definitely guilty of treason."
Badalian later called for members of the group to prepare and train for potential violence. On Dec. 6, 2020, Badalian wrote, "we cant plot anyones demise," but, he continued, "the way is to train and train and one day when were all together in training, the decision has to be made and executed spontaneously as to whom we arrest."
After the group made arrangements to travel from California to Washington, D.C., for the Jan. 6, 2021, proceedings, Badalian called upon other members of the group to prepare for their trip by partaking in paintball training exercises. Badalian wrote in the group, "We need to know how to fight together while under fire." When another group member asked, "what are you training for exactly?" Badalian responded: "a firefight with armed terrorists."
On the morning of Jan. 6, 2021, Badalian and his group attended the Stop the Steal rally on the National Mall. After listening to the then- President's speech, Badalian walked straight to the U.S. Capitol building. After illegally traversing the west front of the Capitol grounds, Badalian made his way to the Lower West Terrace. Here, Badalian cheered on rioters engaged in a heave-ho effort against police and then ascended a scaffolding overlooking the Upper West Terrace on the north side of the building. Once there, Badalian attempted to direct the crowd to the entrances on the Upper West Terrace, evidence showed.
Badalian then entered the Capitol building via a broken window on the Lower West Terrace. Once inside the building, Badalian stood side-by-side with other rioters, including Rodriguez, as they ransacked offices, broke down doors, and broke windows. Badalian later left the building after being forced out by law enforcement.
After the events of Jan. 6, Badalian took steps to hide the evidence of his actions that day. While driving back to California from Washington, D.C., Badalian and others in the group attempted to convince another individual to delete video and photographic evidence linking Badalian and others in the group to the events at the Capitol that day, according to the DOJ.
Badalian and Rodriguez continued efforts to cover up their crimes in their Telegram group. Rodriguez directed members to abstain from posting "incriminating stuff." As part of his efforts to cover up his crimes, Badalian replaced his cell phone and cell phone number after returning to Los Angeles, according to the DOJ.
In the 32 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 1,100 individuals have been charged in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 396 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, a felony. The investigation remains ongoing.
Rodriguez, 40, of Fontana, was sentenced in June to 12 years and seven months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding, obstruction of justice, and assaulting a law enforcement officer with a deadly or dangerous weapon -- an electroshock device.
In addition to the prison term, Jackson ordered him to serve three years of supervised release, and pay restitution of $2,000 to the Architect of the Capitol, and $96,927 to the Metropolitan Police Department for injuries to the officer, according to the DOJ.
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