John Cameron of Port Orchard was sentenced to three years probation and 30 days of intermittent confinement Aug. 15 for his involvement in the nation’s Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.
The 55-year-old also was fined $1,000 and must pay an additional $500 in restitution after pleading guilty to one count of illegal picketing and parading on the capitol grounds as part of a plea agreement with federal prosecutors.
Cameron was the 12th man from Washington state to be charged with crimes after the riot, during which he was cited entering the capitol building for about 22 minutes. He was also cited for wearing political propaganda associated with President Trump, such as his “Make America Great Again” cap and a “Count All Legal Votes” t-shirt.
Glen Morgan, founder of We the Governed, has been assisting Cameron with raising funds to battle legal costs. He said that “There was no way to avoid a guilty verdict, especially in DC’s very democratic demographic. The law for illegal picketing is clear. To fight it would cost tens of thousands of more dollars than John already spent.”
Cameron was hopeful that the deal, along with his crimes being of a nonviolent nature, would not mean jail time. In his statement, he expressed remorse and patriotism in front of Senior Judge Thomas F. Hogan. He even went so far as to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and also try to relate to the judge through former President Reagan, who appointed Hogan to the federal branch 40 years ago.
“I own that crime without reservation,” Cameron said. “I never saw any violence, nor did I commit any. I never saw any vandalism, nor did I commit any.”
Cameron’s strategy did not work, with Hogan saying that he played the victim. “What irritates me most is that all of you are claiming you’re patriots; you’re not patriots when you attack the Capitol of the United States,” Hogan said.
Morgan said harsh punishments have become common for those charged with these crimes, and that he imagines that judges are facing political pressure to come down on those involved. “Very rarely before J6 (Jan. 6) would a picketing charge end up with jail time,” he said. “For J6ers, it’s common.”
Cameron is still accepting donations to help pay for the accumulated fines and legal fees on GiveSendGo. He said: “had I stayed silent, well I still might have gotten jail time. The government made an example of me.”