Oregon state Rep. Mike Nearman (R), who in December held open doors for right-wing protesters storming the state's Capitol building, on Tuesday said that though he pleaded guilty to charges he faced as a result of that day, he does not believe that he did anything wrong.
Nearman, 57, made his remarks during an interview with conservative talk show host Lars Larson following his sentencing.
“I don’t think I committed a crime, and I don’t think I did anything wrong,” Nearman said.
Footage of Nearman opening a door to the building and allowing multiple protesters, some whom were armed with pepper spray and rifles, was obtained by the Oregonian in December. As the video circulated, several of Nearman's colleagues and community members called for him to resign and be billed for the damage caused.
The Republican lawmaker was charged with two misdemeanors, first-degree official misconduct and second-degree criminal trespass, in May.
On Tuesday, Nearman pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charges and was sentenced by a Marion County judge to complete 80 hours of community service and pay $2,900 in fines. He was also banned from entering the Oregon Capitol building for 18 months, according to The Washington Post.
He said that he took the plea deal in order to bypass incurring additional legal fees.
“The legal bills were stacking up,” he told Larson. “It made more sense to pay and do a little community service rather than pay twenty or thirty thousand more to attorneys.”
Nearman also told Marion County Circuit Judge Cheryl Pellegrini on Tuesday that he did not know at the time of the December incident that protesters would do damage.
“I had no intention of harming anyone," he said, according to the Post.
Marion County District Attorney Paige Clarkson noted on Tuesday that she was glad that no one was seriously injured on that day in December.
“This plea and sentencing concludes an embarrassing and disgraceful event in our state’s history,” Clarkson said, according to KATU. “I am thankful that no members of law enforcement, or anyone else were seriously injured as a result of Mr. Nearman’s irresponsible actions.”