GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A Capital Region man, who is one of many who has already pleaded guilty for his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, spoke with NEWS10’s Anya Tucker saying he was a peaceful protestor.
“I just followed inside because I thought what was going to be portrayed was a lie and not the truth. And I wanted to know the truth,” said James Bonet, of Glens Falls.
Bonet, who says he still has questions about the legitimacy of the 2020 election, says he was searching for truth when he followed a crowd into the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
As the crowd seeking to disrupt the counting of votes that would formalize Joe Biden’s presidency, Bonet posted pictures on Facebook. One with the caption: “This is our house, we will take it back.”
He remained inside the Capitol for about 15 minutes and entered two offices while smoking a joint.
“In the Constitution, you’re allowed to peacefully protest. That was my peaceful protest,” he said.
“But you’re not allowed to just enter a federal building like that,” said Anya.
Bonet told Anya that he didn’t break in — “The cops let me in.”
He claims he and many other protestors never took part in the violence or destruction that, on that day and the days following, claimed several lives and injured hundreds of others.
“When I first found out, I cried. That’s, like, sad. You never want to see anyone lose a life,” said Bonet.
“Didn’t you think, though, when you saw people scaling the building and entering all these rooms, it had the potential for anything bad to happen?” asked Anya.
“I think at the time I was just in disbelief,” said Bonet.
He pleaded guilty to his role in what happened at the Capitol. At his upcoming sentencing, Bonet faces a maximum of one year in jail and $100,000 in restitution.
He says the past year has had an impact. He says he’s gone back to school and is now focusing on his future.
“I’m happy I got in trouble. Most people, would be like, ‘Oh, feel bad for me.’ I turned this into a positive.”