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Independent North Carolina journalist sentenced in J6 case

Independent journalist Stephen Horn, based in Raleigh, was recently sentenced in connection with the events that transpired at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. Horn had previously been found guilty in September 2023 on charges of Entering or Remaining in a Restricted Area, Disorderly or Disruptive Conduct in a Restricted Area, Disorderly Conduct in a Capitol Building, and Parading, Demonstrating, or Picketing in the Capitol Building. 


He learned his fate earlier this month at a federal court in Washington, D.C. His sentence includes 12 months’ probation, a $2k fine, and 90 hours of community service. Horn called his punishment “lenient for a J6 trial” in a post on X. 


The jury has returned a guilty verdict on my J6 charges:

• Entering or Remaining in a Restricted Area  

• Disorderly or Disruptive Conduct in a Restricted Area  

• Disorderly Conduct in a Capitol Building  

• Parading, Demonstrating, or Picketing in the Capitol Building


Horn who went to Washington, D.C. on January 6th, 2021 showed up with his camera gear to document any violence that might have taken place.


“I had watched the protests that happened in D.C. after the election there was one in November and December that both had some street level violence,” said Horn. “So I packed up my camera gear that I used to document riots here in Raleigh and thought if I see any of the street level violence I’ll be able to document it, but when I ended up getting to the capital it was not what I was expecting.” 


Attorney Marshall Ellis based out of Elizabeth City, North Carolina argued in front of the court that Horn had shown up at the Capital to document the events as a member of the press. Horn said in an interview “I ended up getting there shortly before the building was actually breached, I followed the crowd around and did my best to the document what I was able to observe both outside and inside of the Capitol.” 


Horn’s claim of being a member of the media rather than a protester is supported by his proactive actions. Within 48 hours of the event, he reached out to both the FBI and the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office providing them with video from the Capitol. 


“Within a day or so I reached out to the FBI, I also sent an email to the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office because Josh Stein made a public statement about working with the FBI,” said Horn. 


When asked why he sent video that he had taken to law enforcement Stephen claimed he had evidence that they might be interested in. “I definitely observed people who had assaulted police officers, by throwing objects at them or shoving them.” said Horn, “Most of the evidence of vandalism I saw was after the fact, some broken windows and a broken door. I thought they would be interested in what I had recorded.” 


For the next 12 months Stephen Horn will have to ask permission to leave the Eastern District of NC as a probation condition. 

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