Man jailed in riot on Capitol Hill could run for Las Vegas mayor

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – A man from Las Vegas accused of participating in the U.S. Capitol uprising on January 6 says he was there to film a documentary and did not seek to provoke violence. He also says he plans to run for mayor of the city “… within the next two years”.

The FBI arrested 32-year-old Nate DeGrave in his apartment near the Las Vegas Strip in late January. He was taken to a prison in Washington, DC, where he has been since. DeGrave is originally from western Pennsylvania.

“I have lost a lot since being here,” he told KLAS.

Documents released earlier this year revealed that investigators received an anonymous advice that led them to DeGrave. On his Instagram page, DeGrave says he’s the CEO of a celebrity event planner and adult model management company.

Speaking from prison, DeGrave does not dispute that he entered the Capitol building, but does not agree with what investigators said he was doing. In his first media interview, during a 30-minute conversation, he said court documents had portrayed him in an unfair light.

“We are not violent people,” DeGrave said of himself and others arrested on January 6. “We are not extremists. We are not national terrorists.

DeGrave and Ronald “Ronnie” Sandlin, 34, of Tennessee, are accused of planning to interfere with the peaceful transition of presidential power, starting last December. The FBI arrested Sandlin outside DeGrave’s apartment on the same day DeGrave was arrested.

A photo submitted as proof to Facebook. (KLAS)

On December 23, 2020, Sandlin posted to Facebook asking who else was heading to Washington. DeGrave replied that he was considering joining him, prosecutors said.

“It is time for the American people to stand up and stand up for this country,” DeGrave wrote, according to prosecutors. “We are tired of corruption. “

A photo posted to DeGrave’s Facebook page, which has since been deactivated, showed a photo of former President Donald Trump in his apartment with the caption “My idol in my living room.” DeGrave said in the interview that it is common for Americans to have a photo of the president, past or current, in their home.

Investigators say Nathaniel “Nathan” DeGrave (right) is seen in this still image wearing tactical gear and a red, white and blue bandana. (KLAS)

DeGrave voted in the 2020 election.

“I firmly believed that the elections would be canceled by [Vice President Mike] Pence and I knew this was going to be historic, ”DeGrave said. “I was excited, but at the same time, I was very worried for my safety.”

On the day of the riot, DeGrave, Sandlin and a third man, Josiah Colt, of Idaho, met in a Maryland hotel room and recorded videos for social media, prosecutors said. In one video, Colt mentioned a “debate we’ve had for days now: Should we bear our arms or not?

Protesters supporting U.S. President Donald Trump gather in the Senate Chamber of the U.S. Capitol after groups breached building security January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. Pro-Trump protesters entered the United States Capitol during protests in the nation’s capital. (Photo by Win McNamee / Getty Images)

DeGrave replied that “for the sake of the camera we are not going to wear,” prosecutors said, adding that the trio were wearing protective gear, including gas masks, helmets and bulletproof vests. . In a photo taken in the Senate Chamber, DeGrave is wearing a black helmet. Prosecutors have repeatedly said that this is tactical equipment; DeGrave said he was wearing a motorcycle jacket.

“The government had you say a week ago on Facebook that you wanted to bring bulletproof gear,” Charns told DeGrave.

“You know I say a lot of things on social media,” DeGrave replied. “I think it’s more important to watch the actions I take and not the words I say.”

Shortly after arriving on the Capitol grounds, DeGrave and the other two men followed the crowd into the Capitol. Inside, DeGrave and Sandlin pushed several United States Capitol Police officers guarding an exterior door to the Capitol Rotunda, prosecutors said.

But DeGrave said there was no evidence he instigated a law enforcement officer and rather than participate in the insurgency, he said his actions showed he was making a documentary .

CCTV photo entered in evidence shows Nate DeGrave with raised fists (center right) and Ronald Sandlin (center) with a camera in their hands. (KLAS)

“We wanted to sell these images for a lot of money,” he said. “I knew things were going to happen inside the Capitol. We followed the crowd inside hoping to film it all.

CCTV footage from inside the Capitol shows DeGrave standing with his fists raised, though it’s unclear why. Sandlin carries a camera. During an April court hearing for Sandlin, prosecutors mentioned that Sandlin attempted to sell footage of the riot before his arrest in January.

“I was unarmed inside the Capitol,” DeGrave said. “I never brought a weapon inside the Capitol at any time.”

A judge denied bail in the DeGrave case earlier this year. DeGrave said he spent most of his days alone in a cell.

Almost a year later, DeGrave said he looked forward to another election.

“I think there are better and more effective ways to create change as well, and I’ve flirted with running for mayor in Las Vegas within the next two years,” DeGrave said.

The election of the mayor of Las Vegas is scheduled for 2024.

Some of the rioters arrested for their roles on January 6 struck plea deals. The FBI continues to try to identify more 10 months later.

A judge has not set a date for DeGrave’s trial. He faces federal charges which include conspiracy, obstructing formal process and assault, resisting or obstructing certain officers, among others.

DeGrave’s friends have created a fundraising page for him. The fundraiser has a goal of $ 500,000 and had raised $ 0 on Sunday.

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