Man insults judge who sentenced him to 12 years in prison for attacking police during Capitol riot

WASHINGTON — A New Jersey electrician who repeatedly attacked police officers during the Jan. 6, 2021, siege of the U.S. Capitol was sentenced to 12 years in prison Friday by a judge who called him “a threat to our society.”

Christopher Joseph Quaglin argued with and insulted U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden before and after the judge gave him one of the longest prison sentences among hundreds of Capitol riot cases.

“You are Trump’s biggest mistake of 2016,” Quaglin told McFadden, who was nominated to the court by then-President Donald Trump in 2017.

Quaglin, 38, joined the crowd of Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol. He injured a police officer when he choked and knocked him to the ground. Quaglin attacked other officers with stolen police shields, metal bike racks and pepper spray. He clashed with police for about three hours while wearing a “Make America Great Again” American flag sweatshirt.

“What an outrage. What a shame,” said the judge.

Quaglin complained about prison conditions and raised conspiracy theories about the Jan. 6 siege during his lengthy remarks in court. He also took issue with labeling the Jan. 6 attack as an insurrection.

“If I wanted to incite an uprising, I would have brought a long gun,” he said.

The judge, who dismissed him after several minutes, told Quaglin that his combative comments were a “really bad idea” before sentencing.

“It’s a kangaroo court,” Quaglin replied.

Prosecutors urged the judge to sentence Quaglin to 14 years in prison. They said he was among the most violent rioters on Jan. 6, when a mob of Donald Trump supporters disrupted the joint session of Congress certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.

The judge convicted Quaglin of six separate attacks on police. Prosecutors say he punched or pushed another 10 officers.

“Quaglin understood the constitutional significance of January 6 and intended to disrupt Congress’ approval of the 2020 elections by any means necessary, including by brutally assaulting police officers for hours,” prosecutors wrote.

About 1,400 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Capitol riot. Nearly 900 of them have been convicted, with roughly two-thirds receiving prison sentences ranging from a few days to 22 years. Only seven Capitol riot police defendants have received longer prison sentences than Quaglin, according to an Associated Press court investigation.

McFadden convicted Quaglin of 14 charges last July after a “determined trial,” meaning the judge decided the case without a jury and based on facts both sides agreed to before the trial. Such trials provide defendants with the opportunity to retain appellate rights that are waived by a guilty plea.

Quaglin traveled from his home in North Brunswick, New Jersey, to attend then-President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally at the White House on Jan. 6. Quaglin left the rally early and recorded a video of himself marching to the White House. Capitol wears a helmet, a gas mask and a backpack.

After storming barricades near Peace Circle, Quaglin repeatedly attacked officers trying to keep the crowd at bay. Capitol Police Sgt. Troy Robinson was injured when Quaglin grabbed him by the neck and knocked him to the ground.

“Quaglin’s attack sparked a brief altercation,” prosecutors wrote. “With Quaglin on top of Sergeant Robinson, other rioters came to Quaglin’s aid and chaos broke out.”

Quaglin “waged a brutal siege” as he and other rioters attacked police in a tunnel on the Capitol’s Lower West Terrace, prosecutors said. He helped another rioter steal a shield from an officer. He pepper sprayed several officers in the face. And he joined the mob’s collective ‘heave ho’ action against a police line.

“Quaglin was part of some of the most heinous attacks in the tunnel while working with other rioters to ensure officers were continually attacked,” prosecutors wrote.

Quaglin later celebrated and bragged about his participation in the riot.

“It was a great time. I got bumps and bruises. And we are having a good time,” he said in a video on social media.

Attorney Kristi Fulnecky claims Quaglin did not receive adequate medical treatment over the past three years while in prison. Fulnecky also said one of Quaglin’s former attorneys forced him to accept a certain bench trial instead of a contested trial.

McFadden told Quaglin that his actions on Jan. 6 were “shocking and lawless.”

“January 6 is not just an anomaly for you,” the judge said. “You allowed it to define you.”