Capitol riot suspect Doug Jensen was supposed to stay off the internet. He didn't. Now he's back in jail.

·5 min read

Doug Jensen, a Des Moines, Iowa, man charged in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, was released from jail in July after he promised he would abide by the rules the court set if a judge would allow him to go home until his trial.

Although he promised not to access the internet, on Thursday, he was ordered back to jail because he violated the terms of his pretrial release by using an iPhone connected to the internet in August, just two weeks after he was released.

"Frankly, I think it’s probably a logical inference that there are no conditions that I can impose that will ensure Mr. Jensen does not pose a risk to the community," Judge Timothy Kelly said Thursday. "I made Mr. Jensen’s conditions of release extraordinarily clear."

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Jensen, 42, was arrested in January after he was seen on widely shared videos at the head of a group following a Capitol Police officer inside the building. He was charged with seven federal crimes including assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers; obstruction of a law enforcement officer during a civil disorder; and entering and remaining in a restricted building.

Jensen spent six months in a Washington D.C. jail, but was released after he successfully petitioned a judge to release him to his home. His lawyer said at the time he renounced his previous belief in the QAnon conspiracy and would abide by whatever terms the court set.

Kelly said, however, that Jensen called himself "a true believer" of QAnon and a "digital soldier for these theories" before Jan. 6.

"It's now clear that he has not experienced a transformation and that he continues to seek out those conspiracy theories that led to his dangerous conduct on Jan. 6," Kelly said. "I don't see any reason to believe that he has had the wakeup call that he needs."

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Jensen watched MyPillow's Mike Lindell symposium

While out of jail, Jensen was prohibited from accessing the internet or using internet-capable devices, including cell phones.

But in August, prosecutors said a pretrial services officer caught Jensen in his garage streaming a program on a Wi-Fi-enabled iPhone.

Jensen first claimed the phone was his daughter's, according to a brief prosecutors filed Aug. 19. Then he claimed his wife left the news on for him when she left for work, according to the brief. Later, he admitted he spent two days streaming a Cyber Symposium held by pillow magnate and leading Stop the Steal advocate Mike Lindell.

Previously: Capitol riot suspect Doug Jensen violated terms of release to watch election conspiracies online, prosecutors say

Jensen's attorney Christopher Davis wrote on Aug. 22 that Jensen was cutting a tree down during a hot week and would go into the garage to cool down while listening to the conference on a phone using a Bluetooth-enabled radio, Davis wrote.

Davis said that Jensen complied with every other condition of his release. He intended to comply with the internet prohibition as well if he was allowed to remain out of jail, Davis said. Davis even proposed sending Jensen to the Polk County Jail for some time to "sanction" him for the violation.

"Mr. Jensen has owned up to what he did, and what he did was wrong," Davis said.

But prosecutors had argued that Jensen was already being monitored with the most stringent level of pretrial supervision available.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Hava Mirell wrote that Jensen's wife, who was tasked with supervising Jensen and making sure he abided by the terms of his release, left the iPhone for him when she went to work Aug. 13.

"Jensen has shown that he has not and will not take orders from anyone," Mirell said in court Thursday. "There are no additional conditions that this court could impose to ensure that Mr. Jensen does not return to the same habit."

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The violation occurred two weeks after Jensen was released from jail, Mirell said. An officer had visited Jensen's home in an announced visit the day he arrived back in Iowa. But he was caught during pretrial officers' first unannounced visit to his home.

Davis did not contest the fact that Jensen violated the terms of his pretrial release. He did call the act of arresting a man listening to a news broadcast in his garage "Orwellian" but also acknowledged that far-right-wing broadcasts he listened to illicitly were what led Jensen to the Capitol initially.

Shay Holman, with pretrial services, said her office had lost confidence that Jensen will comply with the terms of his release.

"We do not have the compatibility to monitor the internet on an hourly daily basis," Holman said. "This is the one time that an officer happened to go by the house."

Judge says Jensen had an 'aggressive posture' at the US Capitol

On Jan. 6, Jensen entered the U.S. Capitol through a broken window and followed an officer through the Capitol "at times ... with an aggressive posture," Kelly noted. At times he came within a few feet of the U.S. Senate Chamber's entrance.

"He also appears to in various ways have celebrated certain things there by recording certain video clips," Kelly said. "While there's no evidence it left his pocket, he did so while carrying a pocket knife."

A surveillance image taken from the U.S. Capitol shows a man, whom prosecutors say is Iowan Doug Jensen, scaling the outside of the building during the Jan. 6 riot. Jensen is asking a D.C. judge to release him from custody while he negotiates a plea agreement with prosecutors.
A surveillance image taken from the U.S. Capitol shows a man, whom prosecutors say is Iowan Doug Jensen, scaling the outside of the building during the Jan. 6 riot. Jensen is asking a D.C. judge to release him from custody while he negotiates a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Davis argued that Jensen is not dangerous and may struggle with addiction to some information on the internet.

"He's not out there beating people with poles. He doesn't have explosive materials on his computer," Davis said. "This man has some issues he needs to come to grips with. Apparently, he hasn't come to grips with them yet."

Kelly let Jensen out of jail because he believed that he disavowed QAnon. But the fact that Jensen violated his release terms so early in his pretrial release convinced Kelly that Jensen will not abide by the terms of his release, he said.

Previously: Des Moines man charged in U.S. Capitol riot asks judge not to send him back to jail

Contributing: Associated Press

Philip Joens covers breaking news for The Des Moines Register. He can be reached at pjoens@registermedia.com or on Twitter @Philip_Joens.

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Capitol riot: Iowa man Doug Jensen back in jail for cell phone use

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