A former U.S. Marine described by one government witness as a “huge white supremacist” pleaded guilty on Monday to assaulting law enforcement with a dangerous weapon during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Daniel Ray Caldwell, a 51-year-old from The Colony, Texas, was seen deploying orange chemical spray on police at around 2:05 p.m. Eastern Time, on the Lower West Terrace of the Capitol.
“Caldwell was within the barricaded area and was in prohibited space,” his statement of offense reads. “A line of officers was formed in front of Daniel Ray Caldwell and he stepped forward and sprayed the line of officers with chemical irritant spray. The chemical irritant was capable of causing serious bodily injury.”
According to his 12-page plea agreement, Caldwell’s federal sentencing call for a term of 63 months to 78 months of imprisonment, or roughly 5.25 years to 6.5 years. The maximum sentence for his offense is 20 years. The actual sentence will be determined by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly.
Initially arrested on Feb. 10, 2021, Caldwell will be sentenced a little less than two years later: Feb. 1, 2023.
The cooperation clause of his plea agreement does not appear to call for him to testify against other defendants in Jan. 6-related trials.
“Your client agrees to allow law enforcement agents to review any social media accounts operated by your client for statements and postings in and around January 6, 2021 and conduct an interview of your client regarding the events in and around January 6, 2021 prior to sentencing,” the clause reads. “Your client can accomplish this through an in-person meeting with a law enforcement agent to allow the law enforcement agent to look through social media accounts on your client’s phone or other device.”
The witness who alleged that Caldwell is a white supremacist described recognizing him from Airsoft Military Simulation (MilSim), described in court papers as a “live-action, in-person simulation of armed conflict scenarios conducted by civilians that involve airsoft plastic projectiles launched be replica weapons.” The game does not involve actual firearms.
Identifying Caldwell from videos posted on YouTube and ProPublica, the witness — whose name is shielded as W1 in court papers — also called the defendant “a complete wacko.”
“While playing Airsoft, according to W1, the individual would bring a real firearm to the course and had to be corrected on multiple occasions to return the firearm to his vehicle,” an FBI affidavit states.
Caldwell wore camouflage gear to the Capitol on Jan. 6 and was seen yelling at and flipping off police officers before spraying them. He was then seen recounting his exploits later at a Virginia hotel.
“Subsequently, in an interview at the Renaissance Hotel in Arlington, Virginia, wearing the same clothing he was seen wearing earlier, this time with a red sticker on the left breast that read ‘Guns SAVE Lives’ sticker on his sweatshirt,” prosecutors wrote while seeking his pretrial detention. “Caldwell recalled that a large fight broke out and a female was hit in the neck. Caldwell said that individuals stayed in the area and police were spraying mace towards him. Caldwell then threatened the officers using spray to deploy the individuals in the area and meant to disperse the angry crowd by yelling back to them that if they continued, he would return spray. Once the officers sprayed him, Caldwell sprayed toward police officer and believed he sprayed around 15 officers.”
[Photo via DOJ]
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