Court Battles

Jan. 6 rioter who carried Confederate flag sentenced to three years in prison

Kevin Seefried, second from left, holds a Confederate battle flag as he and other insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump are confronted by U.S. Capitol Police officers outside the Senate Chamber inside the Capitol in Washington, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

A man who carried a Confederate battle flag through the halls of the Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021, riot, was sentenced to three years in prison on Thursday.

Kevin Seefried was found guilty last summer on one felony of obstructing an official proceeding and four misdemeanors connected to his participation on Jan. 6.

“I never should’ve entered,” a tearful Seefried said at Thursday’s sentencing.

Federal prosecutors had asked the judge for a 70-month sentence, while Seefried’s attorneys asked for no more than one year and one day. 

Judge Trevor McFadden, who sits in D.C.’s federal trial court and was nominated by former President Trump, called Seefried’s conduct “humiliating” and said he had every reason to know he shouldn’t be there.

“Bringing the Confederate flag into one of our nation’s most sacred halls was outrageous,” McFadden said.

Seefried’s attorneys argued that he did not consider “the logic of those who see the flag as a symbol of American racism.”

“I never wanted to send a message of hate,” Seefried told the judge.

McFadden also sentenced Seefried to one year of supervised release and $2,000 in restitution.

The judge referenced Attorney General Merrick Garland’s remarks last year that the Justice Department would not make “one rule for Democrats and another for Republicans,” criticizing a difference in how the government prosecuted participants in Black Lives Matter demonstrations in Portland in the summer of 2020.

Seefried’s attorneys had referenced the Portland cases in arguing for a lower sentence, also discussing how Seefried accepted responsibility, never bragged about his participation and was diagnosed with medical issues.

Seefried and his son, Hunter Seefried, who was sentenced to two years in jail in October, initially traveled on Jan. 6 to attend Trump’s rally on the Ellipse. They went to the Capitol and ate before seeing the crowd and joining in.

“His father did not do what a father should have done,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Brittany Reed told the judge.

Prosecutors say the two men were some of the first rioters to enter the Capitol Building, where they remained for 25 minutes and confronted U.S. Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman.

Goodman received widespread acclaim for leading rioters away from lawmakers in the Senate Chamber moments later in an episode captured on video. 

Goodman testified during Seefried’s trial and said Seefried jabbed at him with the end of his flagpole multiple times.

“He was saying things like: ‘F you. I’m not leaving. Where are the members at? Where are they counting the votes at?’ Things to that nature,” Goodman testified, according to court filings. 

“He was — he was just ignoring me,” Goodman continued. “He wasn’t following. I’m giving him commands. He’s giving me commands in return. He’s not doing what I say.”

In the roughly two years since the attack, federal prosecutors have arrested more than 950 defendants, according to the Department of Justice.

“I’ve lost my son, and I’ve lost my wife,” Seefried said.

Tags Donald Trump Eugene Goodman Merrick Garland

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