A West Virginia state lawmaker will not resign despite being pressured to do so after posting a video of himself joining a crowd during the assault on the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, his lawyer said.
State Delegate Derrick Evans, a Republican, “did not commit any criminal act that day,” wrote his attorney, John H. Bryan, according to Lewisburg-based WVNS-TV.
“On the contrary,” Bryan said, “he was exercising his constitutionally guaranteed rights to engage in peaceful protests and to film the events that were unfolding. I will help him enforce those rights against any commentator or public official. who seeks to retaliate against his political expression, or who further denigrates his name by alleging that he was part of that distinct group which engaged that day in despicable acts of violence and destruction of property . “
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A cellphone recording of part of the now deleted video shows Evans wearing a helmet amid a screaming crowd who forced their way into the Capitol.
“We’re here! Keep moving, baby!” Evans can be heard saying on the tape.
Evans lingered in the Capitol Rotunda – which is lined with paintings and artifacts and has historically been used as a ceremonial resting place for prominent deceased leaders of the United States – and shouted at the others, “No vandalism!”
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The incident, which delayed a joint session of Congress to certify the Electoral College’s votes for the presidential election, forced lawmakers to flee the Senate and take cover, caused a barrage of destruction in the building and killed at least four and dozens. others – including law enforcement officials – injured.
President of the West Virginia House of Delegates Republican Roger Hanshaw said Evans “should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
House spokesman Jared Hunt told The Associated Press that Hanshaw “is always gathering as much information as possible about what happened and will assess any potential consequences once the totality of the situation will be understood ”.
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Hanshaw had said in his statement that he had not yet spoken to Evans.
Evans, who represents part of Wayne County, said in a Facebook statement after the incident that he was returning to West Virginia and “was just there as an independent member of the media to film the story.”
West Virginia Democrats have called for Evans’ departure and prosecution, saying he must be “held accountable” for his role in the attack on the Capitol, WVNS reported.
David Aaro and The Associated Press of Fox News contributed to this report.