The orange jacket-clad man known as ‘Texas Pleather’ will spend months behind bars for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol.
Geoffrey Shough, 38, of Austin, was sentenced to six months in prison on Wednesday, the Justice Department announced. He was seen on Capitol grounds on Jan. 6 wearing a cognac-colored jacket over body armor, as well as a helmet with an American flag patch and goggles. According to prosecutors, he carried and waved a large Texas state flag and cheered as rioters overwhelmed law enforcement officers trying to stop the mob of Donald Trump supporters from breaching the building as Congress certified Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral win.
He ultimately entered the building at around 2:48 pm as part of a line that violently overwhelmed police at the Senate Wing Door. According to the government’s sentencing memorandum, he confronted some police officers, telling in a “very animated conversation” that they “should go home.” Shough then made his way through the Capitol Crypt and through the Hall of Columns before leaving at around 3:03 pm, prosecutors say.
He pleaded guilty in August to one count of civil disorder, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Prosecutors sought a sentence of eleven months in prison. Shough requested alternative sentences of “a term of home detention, a probated sentence, or one month of imprisonment followed by probation,” according to his sentencing memorandum. Federal probation services had recommended eight months behind bars.
In the government’s sentencing brief, federal prosecutors said that Shough “carried and waved a large Texas flag, assisted rioters as they moved closer to the Capitol Building and cheered as other rioters attacked and then overwhelmed police officers nearby on the Northwest Steps.”
At one point, he was seen appearing to help fellow convicted rioter Riley June Williams, who was accused of nicking a laptop from Nancy Pelosi’s office and allegedly trying to sell it to Russian intelligence, get close to the building.
In the probable cause warrant for Shough’s arrest, federal investigators noted that one of the people who identified Shough as the man in the fake leather jacket was his ex-girlfriend, who was identified only by her initials.
“LT stated that the person in the photo without the helmet looked like Shough, and that she was fairly certain that it was him,” the affidavit said. “LT stated that she had never seen the Texas flag in the images, but she recognized the jacket in the images as Shough’s jacket.”
According to an attachment to Shough’s sentencing brief, the couple appears to have reconciled.
“The list of his generous and kind actions far outweighs anything that he has been a part of. [in 2021],” Lauren Todd wrote in a letter to US District Judge Dabney Friedrich, pleading for a lenient sentence. She described Shough as “caring, humble, and genuine,” noting that while they “had disagreements towards the end of 20202” leading to their breakup, Shough has done “personal work” prior to their reconciliation, and he is “understanding how to express himself in a healthy and constructive way.”
Prosecutors, meanwhile, emphasized Shough’s actions that day and his apparent readiness for violence.
“He wore a jacket that was orange-brown in color over a body armor vest with a Texas flag patch, a ballistic-style helmet with an Oath Keepers decal on the back and American flag on the front, goggles, hard-knuckle gloves, and a tan pouch attached to his hip,” the government’s sentencing memo said.
Prosecutors also noted that Shough “was among the first few individuals to violently breach and make physical contact with a line of uniformed Capitol Police Officers” and joined other rioters in physically pushing against the police line, ultimately overwhelming the officers before entering the Capitol.
In the end, Friedrich, a Donald Trump appointee, opted for a sentence higher than what Shough had wanted, but significantly less than both what prosecutors sought and what probation services had recommended.
In addition to the six months of incarceration, Friedrich ordered Shough to serve one year of supervised release and pay $2,000 in restitution toward the nearly $2.9 million in estimated damages and costs to the Capitol resulting from the riot.
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