WASHINGTON (JTA) — Elliot Resnick, the onetime editor of a Jewish newspaper that claimed that he was at the Capitol riot to cover it, pleaded guilty Tuesday to a felony charge for joining the attackers and obstructing a police officer.
“Did you do what the government stated?” U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras asked the former editor of the Jewish Press who stood, subdued, alongside his lawyer in the courtroom, a 10-minute walk away from the Capitol he and hundred of other rioters besieged on Jan. 6, 2021 in a bid to overturn Joe Biden’s presidential election.
“Yes, I did, your honor,” said Resnick, a 40-year-old New Yorker, who was clad in a navy blue blazer and black yarmulke.
Under a plea agreement the prosecution filed at the hearing, the prosecution and the defense agreed to recommend a prison sentence of 8-14 months and a fine between $4,000 and $40,000, in part because Resnick has no criminal record.
Contreras, who is not bound by the plea agreement, reserved sentencing for June 12, after he receives a report from the probation office. The maximum sentence for the charge, obstruction of law enforcement, is five years and three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.
Resnick has already agreed to pay $2,000 restitution to the Architect of the Capitol, his part of the damages incurred that day. The prosecution also agreed not to charge Resnick with other charges related to his actions on Jan. 6.
Contreras released Resnick on his own recognizance. Appointed to the court by President Barack Obama in 2012, Contreras is not known to be harsh sentencer. On Tuesday, he sentenced another Jan. 6 rioter who assaulted police to 2.5 years in prison.
Resnick and his lawyer, Clay Kaminsky, declined to comment as they left the court.
Prosecutor Sean Murphy, seated alongside Erica Tobin, the FBI agent who wrote the charging document, read parts of the document out loud.
Using video evidence and the testimony of police, Dobin wrote that Resnick held the arm of a police officer attempting to use chemical irritant to repel the rioters. The agent alleged that Resnick attempted to open doors for rioters to follow him, even when a police officer was trying to keep the door closed, and that he beckoned rioters to follow him and that he pulled rioters in through an open door.
After video emerged of his presence of the Capitol, The Jewish Press, the Brooklyn-based tabloid where Resnick worked from 2006-2021, the last three years as editor, said that he was covering the riot. Just months after that claim the newspaper let him go without explanation.
Resnick’s low-key affect in the courtroom contrasted with his in-your-face social media, podcasting and writing style. He has a history of using incendiary language and has called the gay rights movement “evil.” Under Resnick’s editorship, the Jewish Press, which says it presents “Torah values and ideals from a centrist or Modern Orthodox perspective,” was criticized by the Anti-Defamation League in 2019 after publishing an op-ed titled “The Pride Parade: What Are They Proud Of?” which compared marchers in the New York City event to animals, adulterers and thieves.
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He also has a history of derogatory statements about Black people, and more recently has complained about how his Jan. 6 experience has inhibited his dating life.