Bradley Rukstales, a former CEO of data analytics company, was detained at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. (Photo: WBBM-TV Chicago)
On Friday, a former CEO and Donald Trump donor stormed the U.S. Capitol throwing a chair in their direction during the Jan. 6, attack. He was sentenced to 30 day imprisonment.
Bradley Rukstales (53), a former CEO of Cogensia data analytics firm, was sentenced in the United States by Carl Nichols. According to The Associated Press, Rukstales donated more than $25,000 to Trump's campaign and Republican Committees during the 2020 election cycle.
Rukstales was among a few Capitol riot defendants that were actually detained on Jan. 6. After a group of rioters chased down officers from the Capitol Rotunda, Rukstales was taken into custody in the Capitol Complex.
Rukstales stated that he was a peaceful and law-abiding citizen who had been arrested for rioting. He also said that he was a victim of violence and that he condemned the destruction in Washington. But federal prosecutors pointed out surveillance footage showing Rukstales throwing a chair at a line officers less than 30 seconds later.
"As Rukstales climbed the stairway to the CVC, less than 30 seconds after the besieged officers had to retreat down it quickly -- chairs that had been thrown towards those officers lay scattered about the floor. Federal prosecutors stated that there were signs of a violent disturbance everywhere and that he accepted to join it. "He grabbed one of the chairs and hurled it at the officers who were already backwards."
Brad Rukstales takes a seat during the Jan. 6 riot at U.S. Capitol. (Photo: U.S. Attorney's Office)
Prosecutors pointed out that Rukstales was only a few feet from officers and they were not in danger of being struck. Rukstales' lawyer stated that there was no evidence that the chair had been damaged.
Federal prosecutors stated that it took "three officers" to arrest Rukstales and that Rukstales "directly contributed to" law enforcement becoming overwhelmed, because it took "at most three officers" to control him during an unstable point in the attack on the Capitol.
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Rukstales, a suburban Chicago businessman who holds a master's degree, "lived a happy life without apparent economic hardship or family conflict," said prosecutors.
Rukstales pleaded guilty to August to the misdemeanor crime of "parading demonstrating, picketing in Capitol building" in a plea deal. Three other charges were dropped in sentencing, as was the case for dozens of other defendants.
Rukstales wrote a letter to the judge prior to his sentencing. He claimed that he entered the U.S. Capitol thinking that there might be a place for us to protest in it, but that his emotions got the best of him and believed in "civic involvement" while stating that he didn’t want to go into details about his political beliefs.
Rukstales stated, "It's also fair to say I was personally frustrated with our country’s political discourse following the 2020 election." "I was struck by the momentum building when I heard about the January 6 rally. It seemed to me that this event would mark an important moment in the history of our republic's constitution. This is why I went to Washington, D.C. that day with my family.
However, not all his family members agreed with his political behavior. Rukstales' oldest daughter, a teacher in her twenties, wrote to the judge in a letter that they "disagree politically" but that their opinions shouldn't be influenced by his actions of Jan. 6.
"I am aware that my father is facing charges. These charges are not something I condone. My father and I stand on opposing sides politically. His actions that day shouldn't have tainted his character, his daughter wrote. He said that he believed he was too involved in politics and that he now realizes how dangerous it can be to focus on the love and service Christ calls us to.
Rukstales' lawyer argued that Rukstales was different than Capitol riot defendants such as Jenna Ryan. Ryan was a Texas real-estate agent who stormed U.S. Capitol seeking a pardon from President Trump. Ryan also constantly downplayed Ryan's behavior on Jan. 6. U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper called Ryan a "cheerleader" in the Jan. 6 attack. He sentenced Ryan to 60 days in federal jail, which she will begin in January.
"Defendants such as Jenna Ryan made public statements after her arrest, expressing a belief she was exempt from punishment due to her social status, and a personal message she would get off Scott-free'," Rukstales lawyer wrote. "The Court sentenced Ms. Ryan, understanding that incarceration was necessary to deter her. This is in contrast to Mr. Rukstales who has publicly and consistently expressed regret for his participation."
In connection with Jan. 6th riot at U.S. Capitol (which represents about one-fourth the total number who unlawfully entered Capitol Building on Jan. 6, or were involved in violence on Capitol grounds), the FBI has made over 650 arrests. 350 of the violent acts committed by those who were present on Jan. 6 are still being sought by the FBI, along with 250 people who attacked police officers.
This article was originally published on HuffPost. It has since been updated.