A Seattle man arrested for assault and harassment after pepper spraying journalists on the Capitol Campus in January, and who was seen on video calling himself a fascist and making derogatory comments about Jews, Baby Boomers and journalists, was sentenced to six months in the Thurston County Jail.
Damon M. Huseman, 27, pleaded guilty to three counts of third-degree assault, two counts of harassment and one count of criminal trespassing, all stemming from a Jan. 6 incident where a throng of people broke onto the Governor’s Mansion grounds following a rally at the Capitol.
The charges Huseman pled guilty to were a shade less severe than the ones he was initially charged with. In a statement filed in Thurston County Superior Court, Huseman specified his plea was an Alford Plea — which is when a defendant pleads guilty simply to take advantage of a plea deal, while still maintaining they are innocent.
In his case, Huseman signed a statement saying he acted in self defense on Jan. 6. According to court documents, Huseman made threatening comments to reporters covering the rally. Two reporters told law enforcement Huseman pepper sprayed them in the face, after asking them if they were media. Both were incapacitated for hours afterward.
Another reporter told authorities Huseman told her she had five minutes to leave the area, and then lunged at her, trying to grab her cellphone.
“We’re gonna shoot you fucking dead in the next year,” Huseman allegedly said. When other members of the group told him he was taking things too far, he responded, “That’s not far enough,” according to court documents.
At the time, Huseman was described as carrying an assault-style rifle, handgun and knife, and wearing a tactical vest.
Videos taken that day and posted to social media appear to depict Huseman using slurs against Jews and condoning violence against Baby Boomers.
In his statement, Huseman wrote: “I maintain that I was acting in defense of myself when I acted in counts 1-5 [three counts of assault and two of harassment]. I am asking the Court to accept my guilty pleas, however, so that I may avoid the risks associated with going to trial on these charges and take advantage of the plea bargain being offered to me by the state of Washington.”
Huseman’s sentencing range for each of the assault charges was four to 12 months. This range is determined by evaluating the defendants “offender score” — which is a numerical score determined by a person’s criminal history. Huseman, however, has no criminal history, according to a report from the Thurston County Prosecutor’s office, making his sentencing range a relatively low one. According to Washington State RCW, the maximum sentence for third-degree assault is five years.
Huseman was sentenced Monday in court by Judge Sharonda Amamilo. He was sentenced to 6 months followed by 12 months in community custody. While under community custody, he’s ordered to stay in touch with a corrections officer, to determine he’s not violating any terms of his probation. Additionally, he’s to pay $600 in fees. Amamilo also ordered five protection orders, preventing Huseman from having any contact, or going near, any of the reporters he harmed or threatened.
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