The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

W.Va. politician who apologized for Jan. 6 now writing defiant book

Derrick Evans filmed himself entering the Capitol building and urging others to do the same, while yelling at police officers who tried to control the mob

3 min

A former state lawmaker who six weeks ago apologized to a federal judge for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack is now writing a book for a right-wing publisher claiming he has been mistreated.

Derrick Evans, who was sentenced in June to three months in prison after pleading guilty to felony civil disorder, said in a statement that he had been “slandered” and wanted “to share my story with the world.”

The terms of the deal are confidential, a spokesperson for Defiance Press said.

Evans filmed himself entering the Capitol building and urging others to do the same, while yelling at police officers who tried to control the mob. At his sentencing, he told Senior U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth he felt daily regret for getting “caught up in a moment which led to me breaking the law.”

But Evans has since repeatedly downplayed the violence and destruction and his own role in the riot, as prosecutors noted in a letter to the court in June. In a radio interview aired the day after his sentencing, Evans said he was “never going to have regrets when it comes to standing up and doing what’s right.”

He has since described himself as a “political prisoner” and expressed a desire to run for office again. Evans was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 2020 and resigned after his arrest last year. Before that, he was known as a confrontational antiabortion activist who would film staff members and patients going into West Virginia clinics.

“While Evans’s sentence has already been imposed and the government is not here seeking its modification, the speed and degree of Evans’s about face warrants this notice, for the record and for the Court’s edification,” prosecutor Kathryn E. Fifield wrote in the June 30 filing.

Other participants in the Jan. 6 attack have made similarly contradictory statements about their actions. The first woman sentenced for illegally entering the Capitol, Anna Morgan-Lloyd, apologized profusely in court; the next day Fox News aired an interview with her minimizing the attack. Lamberth and other federal judges have since expressed skepticism that the remorse displayed by defendants in these cases is genuine.

Lamberth, who had given Morgan-Lloyd probation, said in one filing that his “hopes have been … dashed” and subsequently imposed jail time on multiple rioters who pleaded guilty to the same crime.

At a sentencing for another rioter in front of a different judge, Morgan-Lloyd’s defense attorney said the Indiana grandmother had been “played” by Fox News and had written to Lamberth reaffirming her contrition.

Court records show that when Evans met with the FBI, he falsely claimed that police let the rioters into the building and that he was only wearing a helmet to protect himself from antifascists, assertions refuted by his own video. But prosecutors said that they believed his remorse in those same interviews to be sincere. He also told authorities he did not take the campaign to keep President Biden from power seriously; he has since contended that the election was stolen and that federal agents let rioters into the Capitol.

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office for D.C. declined to comment. An attorney for Evans was not available for comment.

At Evans’s June 22 sentencing, Lamberth said he was sympathetic to the father of four but would have ordered twice as much time in prison had prosecutors requested it.

“You were egging people on and you were encouraging. It’s not like you walked through the building,” Lamberth said. “I have to send a message. I don’t want another riot after the next election.”