TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Friday marked two years since January 6 became known for a violent siege on the U.S. Capitol Building that has led to 940 arrests, including 100 Floridians.
Jeremy Brown is among the 36 Bay area defendants. The retired Green Beret, who was featured on a Special Forces poster when he was younger, claims he was recruited by the Feds to infiltrate the Oath Keepers a month before the January 6 riots.
Brown, 48, talked about his “regrets” during an interview from the Pinellas County Jail.
“On the nights that I lie in bed and I cry myself to sleep, I sometimes selfishly think to myself,” Brown recalled, “I could’ve taken a plea agreement to save myself because I don’t know that the American people even care.”
Brown said he was convinced by his mother to legally fight for what he believes in.
Jan. 6 Capitol Riot arrests with ties to Tampa Bay
“Until the people of Florida and the people of the United States seek the truth and stand up and say no, no this is not what I signed up for as an American citizen then nothing’s going to change,” Brown said.
Brown was convicted last month in Tampa Federal Court of six charges for possession of illegal firearms, two grenades, and one classified document that investigators said were confiscated from Brown’s Tampa home with a search warrant connected to the January 6 investigation.
Brown was acquitted of four other counts and is appealing the conviction on claims the guns are legal, and the grenades and document were planted during the search of his home.
Brown is scheduled to stand trial in Washington on charges he was in a restricted area during the Capitol assault. He said he will not cut a deal and wants to go to trial.
Two years after the attack, experts who track extremism insist the root causes that led to the siege could be worse now than they were in 2021.
Jon Lewis of the George Washington University Program on Extremism said two years has not improved the situation that led to January 6.
“The grievances that drew this crowd, this violent crowd — even the ones from Florida to January 6, to the U.S. Capitol — has not gone away,” Lewis said. “The threat has in fact the views of many extremism experts has gotten worse.”
On Friday, President Joe Biden awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal to more than a dozen individuals, including an officer who died on the day of the riots and to officers who were there and later died by suicide.