Federal prosecutors are seeking their stiffest sentence yet in a case stemming from the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, recommending 44 months in jail for Scott Fairlamb, a former MMA fighter who was filmed punching a police officer in the head after breaching the building.
Fairlamb, a Trump supporter and brother of a Secret Service agent, pleaded guilty in August to two charges: obstructing Congress’ effort to certify the 2020 election and assaulting a police officer. He’s the first of more than 100 defendants charged with assaulting and impeding police officers to face sentencing, and his case is likely to become a benchmark for the others.
Prosecutors say Fairlamb was one of the first rioters to breach the Capitol, entering a Senate wing door shortly after an adjacent window was shattered by a rioter wielding a stolen police shield. Fairlamb was carrying a police baton he picked up shortly after rioters beat back an exterior police line.
“Fairlamb, a former Mixed Martial Arts fighter, joined the storming of the police line on the West Terrace, obtaining a police baton and screaming ‘What Patriots do? We fuckin’ disarm them and then we storm the fuckin’ Capitol!’” prosecutors said in their sentencing memo. “After exiting the U.S. Capitol, Fairlamb aggressively followed a line of dramatically out-numbered Metropolitan Police Department officers, screaming vitriol at them as they attempted to traverse the over-run Terrace.”
“After isolating an MPD officer from his fellow officers, Fairlamb shoved the officer and then punched his face shield,” prosecutors added.
Two days later, Fairlamb celebrated the attack and warned of more violence, following Twitter’s decision to ban then-President Donald Trump from its platform. “They pulled the pin on the grenade, and the blackout is coming,” Fairlamb said at the time.
For prosecutors, Fairlamb’s case is an important test as dozens of felony and assault cases begin wending through the legal pipeline. Though dozens of misdemeanor cases, primarily involving trespassing charges, have been resolved through plea deals, only one felony case has reached sentencing so far.
In that case, rioter Paul Hodgkins was sentenced to eight months in prison for breaching the Senate chamber and rifling through documents he found there. Hodgkins is currently serving his sentence.
But Fairlamb is the first case of Capitol violence to reach the sentencing phase. He’ll have a chance, before District Court Judge Royce Lamberth, to plead for leniency before Lamberth issues a sentence next Wednesday.