Prosecution Uses Ronald Sandlin's Jailhouse Texts Against Him
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Prosecutors Cite Accused Capitol Rioter’s Jailhouse Messages to His Mom in Bid to Keep Him Behind Bars

Days after the prosecution made its case for keeping accused Capitol Hill rioter Ronald Sandlin behind bars ahead of trial, the government has supplemented its argument with Sandlin’s jailhouse messages with his mother. These messages, among others, show that Sandlin does not have remorse for his actions and “poses a continuing danger to the community as well as a serious risk to obstruct justice,” the government argues.

As recently as April 6, prosecutors argued at a hearing that Sandlin, a 33-year-old said to live with his parents in Tennessee, was a “savvy” individual who might try to profit off of his arrest in the Capitol siege. The government cited Sandlin’s contact with Dinesh D’Souza and Joe Rogan, plus Sandlin’s book deal or Netflix deal aspirations. Sandlin’s lawyer responded by saying that his client “has a very loving family” in the United States of America and that Sandlin’s only connection to the Mexico is his birthplace and biological mother he hasn’t seen “in 33 years;” Sandlin was adopted. The defense made this argument to dispel concerns that Sandlin could obstruct justice or flee.

During the hearing, Sandlin himself expressed that did not want to “add fuel to the fire” and was ready to move on. “I have no machinations of becoming an activist in exile,” he was quoted as saying.

The government’s latest filing shows Sandlin using the word “machinations” again, this time in a jailhouse message cited in part by the government.

That message, which the prosecution said Sandlin sent to his mother on March 30, said in full:

I’m doing OK. ups and downs. I’m in a cell block with all Capitol people. I’m proud to call them my friends we stood up for what we believed in and sacrificed. I’m looking forward to being a free man again and hopping on my motorcycle and riding off into the sunset far away from people and their machinations. I’ve learned a lot about myself in here. Solitary confinement is very very intense. Reading books is the most stimulation I get and most of the time its just me in my head. I’ve learned to be OK just being and being OK with myself and my own thoughts and for that lesson I’m grateful because I certainly wouldn’t have gotten that on my own. I’m writing a book on my journey and I hope to turn it into movie. I plan on having Leonardo DiCaprio play me :-). I have so many stories to tell. I got a cock marble in prison lol (google it haha) I’m at peace now and I’ve accepted that I’m here for reason…it may sound self serving but I truly believe I have a divine destiny to fulfill and I/we made history that day and the full implications of our actions his yet to be realized. My bond hearing is in 2 weeks and I expect it to be on the news because I will be making an explosive statement…I won’t ruin the surprise. My charges are pretty serious including 2 assault charges so I expect them to make an example out of me and to be in prison for a few years. I’ve come to peace with my actions and consequences. Josiah ratted/lied on me to save his own ass

The government, for its part, is focused on the parts of the message in which Sandlin said he was “proud to call [the other Capitol riot inmates housed in the D.C. jail] my friends we stood up for what we believed in and sacrificed.” Prosecutors also noted that Sandlin said he was “writing a book on my journey and I hope to turn it into [a] movie.”

The government did not discuss Sandlin’s line about getting a “cock marble in prison.” A Google search associated with the phrase “cock marble” and the word “prison” shows several articles about penile implements among incarcerated men. The Google search also turned up images of marble rooster statues. But prosecutors did say that other parts of the aforementioned text show that Sandlin “one week prior to his statement to the Court [ . . . ] continued to celebrate his actions and appeared committed to publicizing them”:

Providing a deeper view of his mental state, on March 30, he told his mother the following:

“I’m at peace now and I’ve accepted that I’m here for a reason…it may sound self serving but I truly believe I have a divine destiny to fulfill and I/we made history that day and the full implications of our actions [have] yet to be realized.”

In other words, it does not appear that the defendant believes his actions were “shameful.”

Prosecutors further said that Sandlin’s text with a fellow accused rioter the day after Sandlin expressed a desire to move on with his life again supported Sandlin’s intention to profit off his alleged offenses, which include assault: “He also communicated with fellow rioter, Nick Alvear, via text message from jail on April 7—the day after his statement to the Court—inviting him to ‘work together on making this a big movie and book.'”

Other messages show that Sandlin was aware of a CNN article about federal prosecutors getting the green light to offer Capitol defendants plea deals. Sandlin also said he noticed that jail guards were noticeably nicer to Capitol riot defendants after complaints were made about the beating of Ryan Samsel.

Prosecutors maintain that  “there is clear and convincing evidence” that Sandlin should not be allowed bond because he “poses a continuing danger to the community as well as a serious risk to obstruct justice.”

Sandlin was arrested on Jan. 28 in Nevada and was indicted on Feb. 5 on a long list of federal charges.

Read the government’s latest filing below:


[images via U.S. Department of Justice]

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Matt Naham is the managing editor of Law&Crime.