UCLA ‘America First’ leader Christian Secor convicted in January 6 case
“You are partly responsible for the trauma…experienced that day,” Judge Trevor N. McFadden told Secor. But he said Secor didn’t deserve the nearly five-year sentence sought by prosecutors because he hadn’t “personally harmed anyone” and because he was only 24.
“A lot of young people made mistakes in their early twenties,” McFadden said.
Secor, which pleaded guilty in May to obstructing official process, was among the first wave to storm the Capitol. He walked into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office suite, where McFadden noted that staffers were “couched … terrified” in another room. Secor then joined a group of about 40 people pushing against three Capitol Police officers guarding a set of doors on the east side of the rotunda. The door gave way, allowing more protesters to pour in, including members of the Oath Keepers who are on trial in the same courthouse. From there, Secor walked into the Senate Chamber and sat down in Pence’s chair.
Secor bragged about the violence after the riot, then deleted his social media accounts and destroyed his phone, he admitted.
Throughout, Secor wore a shirt and carried a flag inside the Capitol announcing the “America First” movement, spearheaded by far-right commentator Nick Fuentes, described by prosecutors as “a public figure known for making racist statements, celebrating fascism and promoting white”. supremacy.” Secor founded an “America First” campus group at UCLA and on social media portrayed himself as a fascist and referenced neo-Nazi literature.
The government is ‘very concerned about’ Secor’s ‘extremist beliefs’, Assistant US Attorney Kimberly Paschall told court, because ‘specifically on January 6, Fuentes’ was encouraging the kind of behavior we saw then “.
Fuentes said after the 2020 election that Trump supporters should “storm every state capitol,” Paschall noted. Fuentes, who spoke outside the Capitol on the day of the riot, was subpoenaed by the House committee investigating Jan. 6, but was not charged with a crime.
McFadden said he “understands the government’s concern” about “Secor’s involvement in an organization that has some pretty ugly sides”. But he said “the fact that UCLA allows them to be an official club alleviates some of my concerns.” He said he didn’t think the school would allow the Ku Klux Klan to have a chapter on campus.
Secor attorney Brandi Harden agreed, saying “it can’t be an untoward association” when “there’s an ‘America First’ chapter at her school.”
The “America First Bruins” club founded by Secor in early 2020 with two others caused controversy at UCLA. A report from the school’s Luskin Center for History and Policy found that several students had asked the office that approves student groups to intervene because of Secor’s racist, anti-immigrant, and anti-Semitic comments. Members of the UCLA Republican Club also reported Secor to campus police. According to the report, they were told the school could not act without violating Secor’s free speech rights. Secor was eventually banned from the Republicans of the Bruins, according to the report.
America First Bruins is no longer a registered student group, a UCLA spokesperson said.
Paschall said she was also concerned about the number of guns Secor owned and the fact that it spent $3,300 on guns in the year leading up to the 2020 election.
During a search six weeks after the riot, law enforcement found three knives and a truncheon in Secor’s vehicle, sledgehammer plates and bulletproof vests in his bedroom and a ‘ghost gun’ of private manufacture in a safe in the house. They also found a taped .22 caliber rifle and video of him pointing a rifle inside his home. The weapon in the video has not been registered or recovered. After Jan. 12, he told someone asking about guns that “we’re in a civil war” and he searched online for information on whether a gun owner might be identified by the serial number of the weapon.
Secor “enjoys the ability to gather guns in a legal way,” Harden said, but “has never been and is not yet a violent person.” She called her online comments “just chatter.”
Secor spoke in court only to say that a text conversation with a friend in February 2021 about “top secret” “future operations”, described by Paschall as concerning, was “a potential financial business idea”. .