Illinois man pleads guilty to assaulting Reuters journalist during U.S. Capitol riot

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By Sarah N. Lynch

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An Illinois man on Friday pleaded guilty to assaulting a Reuters journalist and a police officer during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump.

Shane Jason Woods, 44, of Auburn, pleaded guilty in a federal court hearing in Washington to one felony count of assaulting, resisting or impeding police and one misdemeanor count of striking, beating and wounding within U.S. territory.

Although the two counts combined carry a statutory maximum sentence of nine years in prison, under U.S. sentencing guidelines, Woods would face between 33 to 41 months in prison, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta said.

Last year, Woods became the first defendant to be charged for assaulting a member of the news media during the riot.

A total of 11 people have been charged with assaulting journalists that day, while about 269 have been charged with assaulting, resisting or impeding police officers, according to a Justice Department tally.

In all, more than 870 people have been charged with crimes related to the Capitol attack.

Thousands of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol following a fiery speech in which the then-president falsely claimed his defeat in the November 2020 election was the result of widespread fraud.

In court filings, investigators said Woods was recorded on video wearing a Trump baseball cap and Trump face mask while walking in a restricted area at the Capitol during the riot.

On the recording, he could be seen assaulting a U.S. Capitol Police officer, causing her to trip and fall to the ground. She was surrounded by protesters until another officer came to her rescue.

He was also recorded targeting a Reuters journalist filming the riots, using what federal prosecutors described as a "blindside shoulder-tackle" to knock the journalist to the ground.

"The manner of attack on the cameraman was very similar to the attack" against the officer, an FBI agent wrote in the initial charging documents.

Woods, who participated in Friday's hearing by remote connection, admitted to knocking down both the police officer and the Reuters journalist.

His sentencing was set for Jan. 13 at 1 p.m. ET.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Scott Malone and Daniel Wallis)