‘Acted myopically and foolishly.’ MO couple sentenced to 14 days in Capitol riot case

A St. Joseph couple who documented their breach of the Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot — one later running for school board after pleading guilty — were sentenced Friday to 14 days of jail and three years’ probation.

Steven and Kimberly Dragoo also were each fined $5,000 and must each pay $500 restitution for damage to the Capitol, which the government says totaled more than $2.9 million. The sentencing hearing was held before Judge Beryl A. Howell in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The Dragoos faced a maximum sentence of six months in jail, five years’ probation and a $5,000 fine.

The government had requested that Kimberly Dragoo, 55, be sentenced to 36 months of probation with 21 days of intermittent incarceration and Steven Dragoo, 66, receive 36 months of probation with 14 days of intermittent incarceration. The government also requested that each be ordered to perform 60 hours of community service.

“Defendants now recognize that they should have known their participation that day would add to Americans’ collective sense of insecurity, fear, and divisiveness,” the Dragoos’ attorney, Bruce L Castor Jr. — one of former President Donald Trump’s lawyers in his second impeachment trial in early 2021 — wrote in their sentencing memorandum. “Defendants are good people who acted myopically and foolishly.”

The Dragoos were charged last June with four misdemeanors: entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly conduct in a Capitol building or grounds; and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.

The couple pleaded guilty in August to parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building. The government dropped the other three charges as part of the plea agreement.

Kimberly Dragoo made headlines again last December when she announced she was running for the St. Joseph School District Board of Education. Reaction to her candidacy was fiery and divided, and she lost in the April 2 election, coming in eighth of the 10 candidates vying for three positions on the seven-member board.

Howell had harsh words for the couple as she handed down their sentences, according to Scott MacFarlane, a CBS News congressional correspondent who attended the hearing and posted details on X, formerly Twitter.

MacFarlane said Howell noted that “what happened on January 6 was a very serious offense” and “it shook the foundation of our democracy.” Howell told the Dragoos: “I get the strong impression you both downplayed your conduct on January 6.”

He said Kimberly Dragoo told the judge that “I love my country. I’m a very patriotic person” and that “I was in the wrong place ... at the wrong time.” Kimberly Dragoo also told Howell that she’d been the victim of harassment after being charged in the riot.

“People come at me so bad. I have … people who hate my guts. I’m tired of it,” MacFarlane quoted her as saying.

Howell told them that their conduct had contributed to the injuring of more than 100 police officers, MacFarlane said.

And, he posted that the judge added: “You repeated the false story that the 2020 election was stolen. That’s been debunked … You crawled through a broken window … You went into the Capitol a second time! … You guys were having a good time. You were having fun … while people were locking themselves behind doors and hiding beneath desks.”

MacFarlane said Howell also grilled prosecutors, asking why the government didn’t recommend fines for the Dragoos in addition to the restitution for damage to the Capitol. The $5,000 fine she assessed each of them was the maximum allowed.

In their sentencing document, the Dragoos argued that jail time wasn’t necessary. Instead, they asked for one year of probation.

“For people who have never been arrested in their lives, to have undergone the ordeal of being subjects of a federal criminal investigation, hiring private counsel, possible indictment, arrest, pre-trial release conditions, presentence investigations, guilty pleas, and pending sentencings, these things were and are shocks to Defendants,” Castor wrote.

“Everything involving the investigation and prosecution of these defendants has served (to) deter them from ever again committing another crime, much less a crime against the United States…because of the profound effect their arrest and prosecution has had upon them (and in their community) the public need have no fear from the Dragoos ever again.”

But the government, in its sentencing memorandum filed April 8, said Kimberly Dragoo showed a “complete lack of remorse for her actions and continued celebration of the events of January 6” after that day. She deserved a more serious sentence, it said, “because she continues to reject responsibility for her actions, going so far as to claim that she is ‘innocent until proven guilty’ after pleading guilty to this offense.”

Since her August 11, 2023, guilty plea, the government said, “Kimberly continues to claim she did nothing wrong, that January 6 was carried out by just a ‘handful of bad actors,’ and is a victim of slander and fake news reporting.”

In signed statements entered with their guilty pleas, the Dragoos said they had flown to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 5, 2021, to protest Congress’ certification of the Electoral College. That day, the statements said, Kimberly Dragoo posted a now-deleted picture on Facebook of the two on a plane going to D.C. The post said, “Washington DC Trump Rally #Stop the Steal Here we go.”

The next morning, the documents said, the Dragoos attended the rally on the Ellipse. About 1:30 p.m., they headed to the Capitol with other protesters. While on the Capitol grounds, Kimberly Dragoo posted videos on her Facebook account in which she narrated what she was seeing on the northwest side of the building.

“In one video,” the documents said, “Kimberly Dragoo stated, ‘They stormed the Capitol … We got stuck in the crowd for like an hour … I’m not getting back in it again.’” Smoke was visible throughout the video, the documents said, along with temporary fencing marked with large lettering that said, “AREA CLOSED.”

In another video posted on Kimberly Dragoo’s Facebook page, the documents said, she could be heard saying, “This part is all barricaded” and “These people all went through it … They’re not supposed to be up here.”

Flash bang diversionary devices were going off during the video, according to the statements, and loud emergency vehicle sirens were wailing in the background. Police cars arrived, and gray smoke was seen rising from the area.

From another location, the documents said, Kimberly Dragoo filmed a large group of Metropolitan Police officers arriving in riot gear to jeers and objects being thrown from the crowd. After filming those scenes, the statements said, the Dragoos moved across the Capitol grounds and onto the terrace outside the Senate Wing door.

Around 3:15 p.m., Steven Dragoo took a picture of his wife posing just outside a broken window near the door, then both entered the Capitol through that window, the documents said. They exited less than two minutes later and saw officers trying to barricade the broken window and direct rioters out of the building.

Capitol security video showed the Dragoos re-entering the Capitol around 3:23 p.m., this time through the Senate Wing door, their signed statements said. They walked with a crowd down a corridor and then retreated when confronted by a line of officers. The couple left through the Senate Wing door, the statements said.

According to the government’s sentencing memorandum, the FBI interviewed the Dragoos on Jan. 20, 2021, at the agency’s St. Joseph office.

“During that interview both Dragoos admitted to being inside the Capitol,” it said, “and stated that they had not done anything wrong.”

Steven Dragoo said he’d taken photos of his wife inside the Capitol, and she told the FBI that she tried to post her video footage and photos on Facebook on Jan. 6.

“Both Dragoos advised they had been following a ‘Stop the Steal’ Facebook page, which provided them with details for their attendance at the Trump rallies in Washington, D.C., on December 12, 2020, and January 6, 2021,” the sentencing memo said.

Kimberly Dragoo told the FBI she had started a similar “Stop the Steal” Facebook page for Missouri, it said.

“Kimberly admitted she entered the U.S. Capitol through a broken window next to an open door near of the U.S. Capitol, where Steven photographed her climbing through,” the document said. “Kimberly thought it was ‘funny’ and stated that she was curious about the broken window.

“Since January 6, 2021, Kimberly has not expressed remorse for her actions, nor — despite pleading guilty to a federal crime — has she accepted responsibility for her actions.”

The Dragoos’ sentencing memorandum said they recognize that “the actions of the persons responsible for initiating a breach on the United States Capitol are objectively reprehensible.”

“Those persons with violence on their minds and destruction (both physically and to the welfare of the nation) in their hearts deserve the indignation and contempt of their fellow citizens,” Castor wrote. “Mr. and Mrs. Dragoo, however, are not among those malevolent souls seeking to do the United States wrong.”

The Dragoos cooperated with investigators, Castor said, “admitting without hesitation their presence inside the Capitol on January 6.” He argued, however, that their involvement was minimal compared to what others did that day.

“Defendants’ participation was, relative to the actions of some of the group, minor and neither Mr. nor Mrs. Dragoo is alleged to have caused damage to the Capitol building nor engaged in violence against police or anyone else,” he said. “Neither has any criminal history, and each are citizens held in high regard by their community.”

The Dragoos’ sentencing memorandum included eight letters of support.

“We can attest to the fact that from their younger years to the present, they have always conducted themselves in an upright manner, well within all legal boundaries established by law,” wrote Bob and Michele Beamon, who said they’d known the Dragoos since childhood. “The Dragoos are also actively involved in their local church and Steve continues to teach a Men’s Sunday School class to the present.”

And Kenneth C. Borden, executive director of the Kansas City Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association, said Steve Dragoo “has always conducted himself in a professional manner.”

“I can attest to Steve’s faith in God, his knowledge of good from bad and right from wrong,” he wrote. “I cannot fathom why he would be judged as something other than an upstanding, law-abiding citizen.”

At the sentencing hearing, MacFarlane posted on X, Howell expressed concern — shared by other judges — that some Capitol riot defendants are submitting character-reference letters from those who may not know the full details about their actions on Jan. 6.

MacFarlane said Howell told the Dragoos: “Not one of the letter writers seem to know what you did.”