US Marine who engaged in Trump’s failed coup d’état gets slap on the wrist

US Marines join Trump's coup d'état

Coomer (red), Hellonen (blue), and Abate (green) inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6

One of three active-duty Marines who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, was sentenced to probation and 279 hours of community service — one hour for every Marine who was killed or wounded fighting in the Civil War.

U.S. District Judge Ana Reyes said she was bewildered about why Dodge Hellonen violated his oath to protect the Constitution “against all enemies, foreign and domestic” — and risked his career — by joining the Jan. 6, 2021, riot that disrupted Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory.

“I really urge you to think about why it happened so you can address it and ensure it never happens again,” Reyes said.

Dodge Hellonen, now 24, was the first of the three Marines to be punished for participating in the Capitol siege. Reyes also is scheduled to sentence co-defendants Micah Coomer—who advocated “a second civil war,” —on Tuesday and Joshua Abate on Wednesday.

The three Marines — friends from the same unit — drove together from a military post in Virginia to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, when then-President Donald Trump spoke at his “Stop the Steal” rally near the White House. They joined the crowd that stormed the Capitol after Trump urged his supporters to “fight like hell.”

Before imposing Hellonen’s sentence, Reyes described how Marines fought and died in some of the fiercest battles in American history. She recited the number of casualties from some of the bloodiest wars.

Wednesday, September 6, 2023, marked 32 months since the attack on the U.S. Capitol that disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress in the process of affirming the presidential election results.

Authorities continue to investigate losses valued at $2.9 million that resulted from the breach of the Capitol, including damage to the building and grounds, both inside and outside.

Ryan Wilson, 40, of Athena, Oregon, was arrested the same day on a criminal complaint charging him with felony offenses of obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder and assaulting officers with a dangerous weapon. Gregory Mijares, 41, of Crown Point, Indiana, was arrested last week on charges of the felony offense of civil disorder.

In August 2023, disgraced former President Donald Trump was indicted on four criminal counts for his attempt to stay in power after he lost the 2020 election: a conspiracy to violate civil rights, a conspiracy to defraud the government, the corrupt obstruction of an official proceeding and a conspiracy to carry out such obstruction.

More than 1,146 defendants have been charged and at least 657 of them have pleaded guilty to federal crimes, including 198 who have admitted to felonies. At trials for those who contested their charges, 142 defendants have been found guilty so far.

Only 378 insurrectionists have been sentenced to periods of incarceration, most of them for relatively short stays. Prosecutors asked for short terms of incarceration — 30 days for Coomer and 21 days for Hellonen and Abate — along with 60 hours of community service, according to a document filed by prosecutors. 

Hellonen, a Michigan native, was stationed at the military base in Quantico, Virginia, on Jan. 6. He worked at the Marine Corps Information Operations Center as a signals intelligence analyst and was promoted to the rank of sergeant in August 2021, said his attorney, Halerie Costello.

Hellonen moved to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina in February 2022 and was waiting to be deployed when he was arrested, according to Costello. Hellonen knows he shouldn’t have entered the Capitol on Jan. 6, Costello wrote in a sentencing memo.

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