A Texas man who got into a scuffle with police outside the Capitol building on Jan. 6 pleaded guilty to a felony.
Nolan Cooke was 22 years old when he traveled to D.C. with his girlfriend and joined the mob of Donald Trump supporters lashing out over Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential win. Although Cooke never made it inside the Capitol that day, he got physical with police during a confrontation outside the building.
In a hearing Wednesday before Senior U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, Cooke pleaded guilty to one count of civil disorder, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
According to prosecutors, Nolan was part of a crowd that shoved its way through a group of Capitol Police officers trying to guard the building.
“There’s a storm coming,” Nolan allegedly yelled while in that crowd, a possible reference to the QAnon conspiracy theory that Trump will bring an end to what adherents believe is a cabal of Satan-worshipping cannibal pedophiles.
“We’re coming through,” Cooke also said, and pledged that “nothing’s holding us back,” prosecutors allege.
Cooke also posted pictures of himself to social media during that time.
“I wouldn’t want anyone other than you with me to take on the revolution,” Nolan posted on Instagram below a picture of him and someone believed to be his girlfriend, whose face was blurred out in the FBI’s complaint.
“What a crazy fucking day,” Cooke captioned another photo, this time appearing to show him at an elevated point above the crowd.
Cooke’s own video of his role in that would-be “revolution” proved to be his undoing,
“Four screenshots from the TikTok video are below showing the long brown hair and denim shirt or jacket, followed by the two Instagram pictures of Cooke wearing a denim shirt or jacket,” the complaint says. “In the fourth screenshot from the TikTok video depicted below, it appears that the individual wearing the GoPro style camera and with denim sleeves is grabbing the arm of a police officer and interfering with a law enforcement officer lawfully engaged in the lawful performance of the officer’s official duties incident to and during the commission of a civil disorder.”
The complaint noted the “long brown hair dangl[ing] in front of the camera lens similar to the long brown hair depicted in Cooke’s driver’s license photo and images of himself on Instagram account[.]”
Cooke told the FBI that he was the one who took the videos, and that it was indeed his hair and arm seen in the images.
Prosecutors say that before his arrest, Cooke agreed to be interviewed by federal investigators. At that time, the complaint says, he Cooke said that he drove to Washington with his girlfriend and a relative. He brought “one or more firearms with him on the trip,” but left them in the relative’s vehicle and didn’t bring them to the Capitol grounds.
“Cooke was at the front of the crowd pushing against the officers who were enforcing the restricted access to the Capitol Building and Grounds,” the complaint says. “Cooke pushed past police officers to get to one of the doors of the Capitol Building. He used a flag pole to bang on a window.”
Under the plea agreement, Cooke will pay $500 in restitution toward the estimated $1.5 million damage from the riots. He will also agree to cooperate with the investigation, according to his lawyer.
Cooke had also been charged with engaging in disorderly conduct on restricted grounds. That charge will presumably be dropped at his sentencing hearing.
Lamberth, a Ronald Reagan appointee, set Cooke’s sentencing for June 10.
[Images via FBI court filings.]
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