Samuel Montoya was documenting the event as a journalist when he reportedly found himself inside the Capitol where he witnessed the incident involving 35-year-old Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt.
Babbitt, as the media reported, was "fatally shot outside the Speaker's Lobby." And Montoya was right there to film it, his family members told the FBI's National Threat Operations Center in a tip, claiming that he showed them the footage firsthand.
At the time, Montoya was a video editor for Infowars who allegedly showed up on his own after being told by Jones to stay in Texas to work on the site's broadcasts while Jones and others went to Washington, D.C., for the "Stop the Steal" rally.
"Jones said that Montoya went to D.C. on his own and that Jones had instructed his staff not to go inside the U.S. Capitol," wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexis Loeb in a court filing.
(Related: The supposedly "alt-right" Boogaloo Bois that participated in the "insurrection" were actually far-left extremists in right-wing disguise.)
Montoya was hired by Infowars in 2018 but laid off back in November after the company filed for bankruptcy. As you may recall, Jones was slapped with a $1.5 billion fine for comments he made about the 2012 Sandy Hook incident, according to his attorney.
At the same time, Montoya is facing a much lesser but still onerous punishment for merely being present at the moment Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd reportedly shot Babbitt, killing her.
Prosecutors attempted to get Montoya thrown in the slammer for his presence at the event, but U.S. District Judge John Bates ruled against this. Instead, Montoya will have to endure three years of probation, including 120 days of home detention and 60 hours of community service.
Montoya was also ordered to pay a $1,500 fine plus $500 in restitution for his "crime."
Montoya was first arrested in April 2021. He initially faced charges that included one count of entering and remaining in a restricted building; one count of disorderly and disruptive conduct in a capitol building; one count of impeding passage through the Capitol grounds or buildings; and one count of parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a capitol building.
Ultimately, Montoya pleaded guilty to just one of these counts, the latter one, which is just a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in prison.
At the very least, prosecutors wanted Montoya to rot in a cell for at least 45 days, but Judge Bates ruled against this. Despite claiming to be "a member of the media," Montoya was not officially a journalist in the eyes of the White House.
Montoya apologized for his presence there, stating that "nothing like what happened at the Capitol that day should ever take place again."
"I truly hope my apology offers a bit of closure to my fellow countrymen as we recover and heal together," he added.
Judge Bates clarified that his ruling will not allow Montoya to "get a free pass ... just because he considered himself a journalist." The fact that Montoya only got the sentence he did was a "close call," the judge added.
"He was more than just a reporter," Bates stated. "He was not just an observer. He was a participant."
The latest news about the state-sanctioned political persecution of independent journalists can be found at Tyranny.news.
Sources for this article include: