Northern California man who took flag from Capitol pleads guilty to Jan. 6 insurrection charge

·2 min read

A Sacramento-area man facing charges in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol pleaded guilty Thursday to obstruction of an official proceeding in federal court in Washington, D.C., part of a plea bargain that had been in the works for months.

Tommy Frederick Allan of Rocklin entered the plea during a Zoom hearing 18 months after authorities say he entered the U.S. Capitol with other members of the mob supporting former President Donald Trump that day, then took a U.S. flag from the Senate chambers as well as some documents.

Allan, who was indicted a year ago by a federal grand jury, allegedly climbed a rope on the wall of the Capitol to get inside, then made Facebook posts while there.

An informant later tipped the FBI to the existence of the posts, and court papers say Allan deleted his Facebook account once he returned from Washington and destroyed documents taken from the Senate in his backyard.

As part of the plea deal, Allan will pay $2,000 in restitution, and other insurrection-related charges will be dropped at the time of sentencing. He faces a maximum of 20 years in jail, and will be sentenced on Dec. 8.

Allan is the second of four Sacramento-area residents to enter a guilty plea in connection with the attack on the Capitol.

Valerie Elaine Ehrke of Arbuckle pleaded guilty a year ago to a misdemeanor count of parading or picketing at a Capitol building and was sentenced to three years probation, 120 hours of community service and a $500 fine. Prosecutors described her conduct as “minimal” and she was one of the first defendants in the attack to plead guilty.

Two other Sacramento-area men still have cases pending in Washington.

GOP activist Jorge Riley of Sacramento, who is accused of entering House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, has his next hearing set for Sept. 23 and a trial date set for April 24.

Auburn construction worker Sean McHugh, the only one of the four Sacramento-area defendants to remain in custody, is charged with eight felony and two misdemeanor counts, including assaulting police, obstructing an official proceeding and violence on Capitol grounds.

Authorities say McHugh used a bullhorn to urge other protesters forward and sprayed police officers with bear spray during the melee. Prosecutors have been negotiating a possible plea deal, but McHugh said at a recent court hearing that he wanted to replace his federal defender with a private attorney.

U.S. District Judge John D. Bates, who has set an October trial date for McHugh, cautioned him that the trial might not be postponed if he changed lawyers and that if it was he would not be able to get to trial before next April.