A Texas man and coffee roasting company owner who offered FBI agents bags of coffee beans after they interviewed him about his participation in the Jan. 6 Capitol assault has been sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor.
Vic Williams, 49, posted much of his journey into the Capitol to Facebook on Jan. 6, when Donald Trump supporters broke past police lines to swarm the building and stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden‘s win in the 2020 presidential election.
Like many who stormed the Capitol that day, Williams appears to have been done in by that decision.
“I said I wasn’t going in by then I couldn’t help myself,” he wrote in a post that appeared to be taken from within the crowd outside the Senate Wing Door, according to the FBI complaint.
“WE are America!” he wrote in a post featuring a selfie from a different angle outside the Capitol building.
He also sent private messages telling people “I’m inside,” “Inside the Capitol,” and “I got in the Capitol.”
Williams pleaded guilty in October to one count of parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building, a misdemeanor that carries a potential sentence of up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Prosecutors recommended 14 days in custody followed by three years’ probation, 60 hours of community service, and $500 in restitution. Williams asked for 12 months of unsupervised probation.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras sentenced Williams to one year of probation, including a two-month term of home confinement.
At the hearing, prosecutors reminded Contreras that Williams had lied to the FBI when he interviewed them by telling them he had only gone to the door of the Capitol, but not inside, as he actually had done.
Williams told Contreras, a Barack Obama appointee, that when the FBI asked him that question, he was confused and overwhelmed by the situation.
“I did not want to lie to the FBI, but I sure didn’t want to admit I went into the building,” Williams said. “I was scared to death.”
Prosecutors also said that Williams deleted evidence of his participation in the Capital siege, including a 17-minute long Facebook Live video in which Williams detailed what he saw and did at the Capitol that day.
Williams’ lawyer, Chip Lewis, implied that deleting videos wasn’t necessarily about destroying evidence, but about realizing the seriousness of what took place. Williams said many of his Jan. 6 clients delete photos or videos after “realizing very soon after the despicable events of Jan. 6” that they “don’t want anything to do with that.”
Williams said that his wife, who was more aware of the violence of the Capitol than Williams claimed to be at the time, had deleted at least some of the videos and photos from his phone.
Before issuing his sentence, Contreras commented on the more than 50 pages of letters of support that Williams had submitted with his sentencing memorandum.
“Everyones saying you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread,” Contreras told Williams.
Contreras noted that in addition to Williams’ “charitable activities,” including a foundation that supports children and schools in villages in Kenya and elsewhere, Williams also has a coffee company that “provides high quality coffee for members of armed services.”
Prosecutors, of course, already knew this, as Williams had offered FBI investigators bags of coffee to the agents when they interviewed him in February. In the FBI affidavit, an agent described Williams as a “roasting company” owner who “at the conclusion of the interview, gave two bags of coffee to the interviewing agents.”
Despite the sentence of home confinement, Contreras said that Williams could travel for work with approval from the probation department overseeing his sentence.
Contreras said that in addition to his home confinement and probation, Williams must complete 60 hours of community service within six months. Contreras also ordered Williams to pay a $1,400 in addition to the $500 restitution.
“Good luck to you sir,” Contreras said at the end of the hearing. “I hope this is just a blip in an otherwise commendable good life.”
[Images via FBI court filings.]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]