A host with a show on the Austin-based conspiracy website Infowars violated the terms of a federal prosecution deferral and participated in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, according to a criminal complaint and arrest warrant filed in U.S. District Court in Washington.
Jonathon Owen Shroyer, whose show “The War Room With Owen Shroyer” streams daily on the Infowars platform “banned.video,” was charged Thursday with violent and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and entering a restricted area without authority, both misdemeanors.
"There's a lot of questions. Some I have answers to; some I don't. ... I plan on declaring innocence of these charges because I am," Shroyer said in a video posted on the Infowars website. He said on air Friday that his lawyer had informed him there was a warrant out for his arrest and that he would have to turn himself in to authorities Monday morning. The complaint does not name an attorney of record for him.
Shroyer is among at least 58 Texans charged so far in the Capitol riot, which left five dead after a rally in support of then-President Donald Trump and a march from the Ellipse. The mob sent lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence fleeing for safety, and the FBI has charged more than 575 people overall.
According to the complaint, videos reviewed by federal investigators showed Shroyer marching to the Capitol shortly before the grounds were breached by Trump supporters who were attempting to delay the certification of votes from the 2020 presidential election by both houses of Congress.
In one video, the complaint says, Shroyer can be heard telling the crowd: “Today, we march for the Capitol, because on this historic January 6, 2021, we have to let our Congressmen and women know — and we have to let Mike Pence know — they stole the election. We know they stole it, and we aren’t going to accept it.”
The complaint says the same video showed Shroyer leading a crowd of people in a “1776!” chant, while the host of the Infowars show on which the video was streamed said, “Alex Jones at this moment is leading the march toward the Capitol building.”
In the days after the insurrection, Jones, an Austin-based conspiracy theorist and host and owner of Infowars, claimed he paid for the rally that preceded the riot. In a video filmed in Washington shortly after the rioting, Jones said he was asked by the White House to lead the march to the Capitol three days before the event. He also said he paid close to $500,000 to book the Ellipse, the park where Trump's supporters initially gathered, and other areas near the Capitol. Jones said 80% of the money came from an unnamed donor.
Jones has not been charged in the riot. However, at least one other Infowars employee — video editor Sam Montoya — has been charged in the Capitol breach.
Shroyer was featured in promotional materials for the rally produced by Infowars. One graphic depicts him standing beside Jones with a bullhorn in front of the Capitol under the words, “Be a part of history! Fight for Trump!”
The complaint cites a video posted on Infowars on Jan. 5 in which Shroyer said: “Americans are ready to fight. We’re not exactly sure what that’s going to look like perhaps in a couple of weeks if we can’t stop this certification of the fraudulent election. … We are the new revolution! We are going to restore and we are going to save the republic.”
Video footage reviewed by federal authorities showed Shroyer in restricted areas on both the east and west sides of the Capitol during the riot, and investigators said in the complaint that one video shows Shroyer at the top of the steps on the east side of the building.
According to the complaint, Shroyer called in to a live Infowars broadcast Jan. 6. During the call, Shroyer described marching to the Capitol.
He said he was on “one side of the Capitol, so we can’t see both sides, but on this side alone, there’s probably about 100,000 people. They’ve taken the Capitol grounds. They’ve surrounded the building itself. They’re on the actual building structure. ... We literally own these streets right now.”
In addition to the two charges filed against Shroyer last week, he is in violation of the terms of a deferred prosecution agreement related to an earlier incident in which he disrupted a House Judiciary impeachment hearing, the complaint says.
On Dec. 9, 2019, Shroyer was arrested after he jumped up from his seat and shouted during the meeting, causing the chairman of the Judiciary Committee to call for order to be restored.
Shroyer was charged with disorderly conduct and impeding passage. As part of a plea deal he signed Feb. 25, 2020, Shroyer agreed that he would not engage in loud or disorderly conduct at any area of the Capitol grounds and agreed not to demonstrate or picket within any Capitol buildings for four months, the complaint says. He also was supposed to perform 32 hours of community service.
Although the requisite time had passed, as of Jan. 6, 2021, Shroyer had not reported completion of any of his community service, the complaint says. On Feb. 5, Shroyer’s lawyer emailed the government to report that he had completed his community service, but an attached log reported that Shroyer had performed only 30 hours of community service from Jan. 19, 2021, through Feb. 4, 2021, the complaint says.
Additional material by The Associated Press.