Republican congressman presents convicted January 6 rioter with flag flown over US Capitol after her release from prison
By Aaron Pellish and Marshall Cohen, CNN
Gohmert, a Trump ally who has previously promoted debunked conspiracies about the January 6, 2021, insurrection, met Dr. Simone Gold upon her release from federal prison in Miami on Friday and gifted her a flag flown over the Capitol along with an official certificate. In a statement released Friday, Gohmert falsely claimed that Gold was "a political prisoner," a term many supporters of former President Donald Trump have used to inaccurately describe the prosecution and incarceration of January 6 defendants.
"Dr. Gold is the definition of what a political prisoner looks like -- something I never thought I'd see here in the United States of America," Gohmert said.
Gold is a well-known Covid-19 conspiracy theorist who was sentenced to 60 days in prison in June for her involvement in the January 6 riot. She is the founder of America's Frontline Doctors, a group that received national attention for spreading false claims about Covid-19, pushing unproven treatments like hydroxychloroquine and later lying about the FDA-authorized vaccines.
The day before January 6, Gold spoke at a "Stop the Steal" rally in Washington, DC, where she further promoted vaccine misinformation. The next day, she joined a group of rioters who forced their way past officers and breached the US Capitol. She later spoke through a megaphone to fellow rioters gathered in Statuary Hall.
At her sentencing hearing in June, US District Judge Christopher Cooper chastised Gold for "leaving people with the misimpression that this is a political prosecution." Cooper gave her the 60-day jail sentence after she pleaded guilty to entering restricted Capitol grounds, a low-level misdemeanor with a maximum potential sentence of one year behind bars.
The statement released by Gohmert's office Friday said he presented Gold with the flag "to celebrate her invaluable work and contributions to public health, medical freedom and our God-given constitutional rights."
The certificate presented with the flag said it was given "in honor of the beginning of the rest of (Gold's) invaluable life ... with great appreciation, admiration and awe," according to photos of the flag presentation released on Gold's Twitter account.
Gohmert, who is leaving Congress when his term ends next year following an unsuccessful run for Texas attorney general, is one of the most vocal promoters of January 6 conspiracies. He is also part of a group of House Republicans that have rallied to the defense of some of the people charged in connection with the insurrection.
"I am honored to receive this recognition from Congressman Gohmert, a true believer in freedom and a fierce defender of our constitutional rights," Gold said via Twitter.
The Architect of the Capitol, the office responsible for maintaining the grounds of the US Capitol, provides official flags flown over the Capitol to members of Congress upon request. The office "fulfills on average more than 100,000 flag requests" from lawmakers annually, according to its website.
Gold is one of more than 125 Capitol rioters who have been sentenced to jail or prison after being convicted of crimes related to January 6. Nearly 875 people from across the country have been charged by the Justice Department.
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