Mark Jefferson Leffingwell Pleads Not Guilty in Capitol Riot Case

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U.S. Capitol Rioter Charged With Assaulting Police Officer Pleads Not Guilty to Seven Counts

Outgoing President Donald Trump delivers a speech on Jan. 6, shortly before his mob of supporters ran riot inside the U.S. Capitol.

One of many rioters charged with assaulting law enforcement during the U.S. Capitol insurrection, Mark Jefferson Leffingwell‘s case stands out for being supported by an affidavit from the police officer he allegedly attacked. Leffingwell pleaded not guilty to seven charges through his defense attorney on Friday afternoon, even though court papers allege he apologized to the officer he struck.

“While there, I attempted to form a barrier with other officers to stop or deter additional individuals from entering the Capitol building,” Capitol Police Officer Daniel Amendola narrated in a two-page declaration. “In the course of this effort and while inside the Capitol building, I encountered an adult male who later identified himself to me as Mark Jefferson Leffingwell. Leffingwell attempted to push past me and other officers. When he was deterred from advancing further into the building, Leffingwell punched me repeatedly with a closed fist. I was struck in the helmet that I was wearing and in the chest. Working with other officers, I was able to gain control over Leffingwell, who attempted to struggle while being detained.”

Authorities say Leffingwell turned apologetic upon his transfer to U.S. Capitol Police custody.

“While in custody, but prior to being advised of his Miranda rights, Leffingwell spontaneously apologized for striking the officer,” the officer wrote. “When told that the officer who Leffingwell had struck was me, Leffingwell apologized to me for striking me.”

Two days after the siege, Leffingwell was released from jail subject to pre-trial supervision, an order to stay away from Washington, D.C., and a prohibition on him possessing any firearms or other weapons.

Leffingwell’s attorney Mark John Carroll delivered the not guilty plea for his client at this point, adding that he expects “reams and reams” of video evidence will come out in discovery. Carroll depicted his client as a disabled veteran who served his country “valiantly” in Iraq, suffering from a traumatic brain injury from an improvised explosive device there.

“This incident is an anomaly in his life,” Carroll told the judge.

As of Jan. 16, the Associated Press counted some 22 armed service members and law enforcement involved in the riot, and that number has grown over the past roughly two weeks.

Leffingwell has been charged with civil disorder, assaulting law enforcement, violently entering a restricting building, and disorderly and violent conduct inside it. His next hearing has been scheduled for March 31.

(Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

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Law&Crime's senior investigative reporter and editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on MSNBC, BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks.