Cardinals super fan known as Rally Runner pleads guilty to storming Capitol in face paint

This image from police body-worn video and contained in the Justice Department statement of facts supporting the arrest of Rally Runner, shows Rally Runner at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. Rally Runner, who legally changed his name from Daniel Donnelly Jr., pleaded guilty on Friday, March 22, 2024, to a felony charge of civil disorder and is scheduled to be sentenced in July. (Department of Justice via AP)

This image from police body-worn video and contained in the Justice Department statement of facts supporting the arrest of Rally Runner, shows Rally Runner at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. Rally Runner, who legally changed his name from Daniel Donnelly Jr., pleaded guilty on Friday, March 22, 2024, to a felony charge of civil disorder and is scheduled to be sentenced in July. (Department of Justice via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A St. Louis Cardinals super fan known as Rally Runner pleaded guilty on Friday to storming the U.S. Capitol while wearing red face paint and red clothes, fueling a baseless conspiracy theory that government plants secretly incited the Jan. 6, 2021, attack.

The 44-year-old Missouri man, who legally changed his name from Daniel Donnelly Jr. to Rally Runner in 2017, used a stolen shield to help other rioters attack police officers at the Capitol.

Rally Runner was wearing red paint on his face, a red jacket and a red “Keep America Great” hat when he stormed the Capitol. He is known in St. Louis for running around the Cardinals’ stadium during baseball games while wearing red clothes and red face paint.

Rally Runner pleaded guilty to civil disorder, a felony punishable by a maximum prison sentence of five years. U.S. District Judge Jia Cobb is scheduled to sentence him on July 30.

Tucker Carlson featured him on a December 2021 segment of his now-canceled Fox News show. Carlson showed an image of Rally Runner outside the Capitol as he promoted conspiracy theories that uncharged “agent provocateurs” had infiltrated the mob, HuffPost reported.

“Who is this person? Why hasn’t he been charged? That’s a very simple ask,” Carlson told his viewers.

The FBI arrested Rally Runner in St. Louis in August 2023. Investigators questioned him at his St. Louis home less than a week after the riot. He told them that he was at the Capitol on Jan. 6 and took one of the police shields that rioters were passing around the crowd, the FBI said.

Video captured Rally Runner in the crowd of rioters who attacked police in a tunnel on the Capitol’s Lower West Terrace. He and other rioters used shields to form a wall as they clashed with police, the FBI said.

Rally Runner was still wearing face paint and his Trump hat when he talked about his part in the Capitol attack in a Facebook video posted on Jan. 6, 2021.

“We pushed them all the way into the doors. It was working until more cops showed up. I’m right at the front of it and got through those doors into the Capitol, and that’s when reinforcements came,” he said on the video.

The estimated sentencing guidelines for Rally Runner’s case recommend a prison term ranging from two years to two years and six months. The judge isn’t bound by those guidelines.

More than 1,300 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Capitol riot. Nearly 800 of them have pleaded guilty. Approximately 200 others have been convicted after trials decided by a judge or jury. More than 800 have been sentenced, with roughly two-thirds receiving a term of imprisonment ranging from a few days to 22 years.

AP Politics

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