A West Virginia Republican state lawmaker who posted a video of himself storming the nation’s Capitol resigned Saturday effectively immediately after being charged by federal authorities.
“The past few days have certainly been a difficult time for my family, colleagues and myself, so I feel it’s best at this point to resign my seat in the House and focus on my personal situation and those I love,” Derrick Evans, a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, said in his resignation letter.
Evans is charged with entering a restricted area and disorderly conduct in connection with Wednesday’s deadly riot.
“I take full responsibility for my actions, and deeply regret any hurt, pain or embarrassment I may have caused my family, friends, constituents and fellow West Virginians,” he wrote. “I hope this action I take today can remove any cloud of distraction from the state Legislature, so my colleagues can get to work in earnest building a brighter future for our state. And more importantly, I hope it helps to begin the healing process, so we can all move forward and come together as ‘One Nation, Under God.’”
Charging documents refer to a now-deleted video posted prior to the riot in which Evans says: “They’re making an announcement right now: If [Vice President] Pence betrays us you better get your mind right because we’re storming that building.”
He then laughs and adds, “I’m just the messenger, so don’t be hating on me.”
Evans, 45, was released on his own recognizance. The federal misdemeanors are punishable by up to a year and a half in prison.
A cell phone video taken inside the Capitol during the siege appears to show Evans, wearing a helmet, exulting in the midst of the screaming mob.
“We’re in! Keep it moving, baby!” Evans can be heard saying.
Trump supporters overwhelmed law enforcement officials and forced their way into the building, some even fanning out on the Senate floor where moments before lawmakers convened with Pence to certify Democrat Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election.
After breaching the building, Evans lingered in the Rotunda, which is lined with paintings and artifacts, and yelled to the others, “No vandalizing!”
“Our house!” he shouted. “I don’t know where we’re going. I’m following the crowd.”
John Bryan, an attorney representing Evans, said Thursday that the lawmaker was acting as an amateur journalist recording the day’s events and did not commit a crime. He has since declined to comment.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, a Republican, called for Evans to resign, as did other lawmakers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.