A Missouri military veteran and former Federal Aviation Administration employee has been sentenced in federal court to 36 months of probation in connection with the Capitol riot.
Brian Scott McGee, 61, of the central Missouri town of Auxvasse, also must pay $500 restitution toward the nearly $2.9 million in damages the government said rioters caused in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack.
The sentencing was held via video conference Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. McGee is the 19th defendant to be sentenced of the 36 Missourians who have been charged in Capitol riot cases.
He pleaded guilty in July to parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building and faced a maximum sentence of six months in jail, a $5,000 fine and five years’ probation. The government recommended a sentence of three years’ probation with 14 days of intermittent incarceration and 60 hours of community service.
McGee was arrested Feb. 9 in Jefferson City on four misdemeanor counts: 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 government dropped the other charges in exchange for his guilty plea on the parading count.
According to McGee’s signed “statement of offense,” he left Missouri on Jan. 4, 2021, to drive to Washington, D.C., stopping overnight to stay with a family member in Kentucky. McGee had been corresponding on Twitter with the wife of co-defendant Jeremy Harrison of Florida, the statement said, and McGee and the Harrisons made plans to attend the “Stop the Steal” rally together in Washington on Jan. 6.
The three shared a ride to the Ellipse that morning, the document said, and after watching former President Donald Trump’s speech, they went to the Capitol. McGee and Harrison entered the restricted area on the grounds, but Harrison’s wife decided not to do so. After the mob breached the Capitol, the document said, McGee and Harrison made their way up the west side of the grounds and entered the building around 2:24 p.m. through the Senate Wing door.
The two stayed in the building for less than two minutes, according to the statement. They remained near the Senate wing door entrance, then left to meet up with Harrison’s wife, who had stayed outside. D
The probable cause affidavit filed in the case said McGee was contacted by phone on Aug. 4, 2021, to schedule a personal interview with the FBI. McGee told the FBI that people in the crowd said U.S. Capitol Police were allowing protesters to enter the building.
“McGee further claimed that he observed four or five U.S. Capitol police officers wearing riot gear gesture for people to enter the U.S. Capitol and fist bumping them as they walked by,” the document said.
But Capitol surveillance video in the area where McGee entered the building did not corroborate McGee’s claim, it said.
In October 2021, the affidavit said, the FBI interviewed three witnesses who knew McGee — a former supervisor when McGee was in the Missouri National Guard, a co-worker at the Columbia Regional Airport Safety Department and a former supervisor at the FAA Tech Operations Office. All three identified McGee in photos and videos from the riot.
An FBI agent interviewed McGee in person on Feb. 14, 2022, the document said, and showed him photos taken from the Capitol surveillance video.
“McGee identified himself, wearing a red hat and having a small U.S. flag, as one of the individuals in the surveillance video that unlawfully entered the Capitol,” it said.
In its sentencing memorandum filed last month, the government said that statements made by McGee and Harrison on social media “bely any assertions of remorse.”
McGee’s posts on Gab after Jan. 6 “frequently demonstrated his lack of remorse for the attack on the Capitol and show a strong desire for more political violence,” the government said. “His posts advocated taking up arms against politicians whose views he did not share and ‘liberals who would stand in the way.’”
The government included in the sentencing document more than a dozen examples of McGee’s posts.
On May 14, 2021, he posted: “IMO, It looks to me like the left, the ones against guns and don’t know which bathroom to use are hell bent on starting the civil war with the right, the ones who own over 300 million weapons and over 8 trillion rounds of ammo… I’m not sure they thought this through…but I’m locked and loaded.”
And on June 18, 2021: “I took a week of no notice leave from work and drove for 2 days to attend the rally in DC. I was unarmed that time. I would have no problem making the trip again…Not so sure I’d be unarmed. Locked and loaded in Missouri….Awaiting orders.”
McGee’s sentencing memorandum filed Nov. 1 painted a different picture, calling him “a productive, law-abiding citizen with a minimal criminal record.”
“He served his country in the United States Air Force beginning in 1980, from which he was honorably discharged in 1983, and then enlisted in the Army National Guard, which he served until 2019, when again he was honorably discharged,” the document said.
During his service, it said, he went to Iraq and Kuwait — “both times in combat zones, where he had to go to bunkers during mortar attacks.” Until 2022, the document said, McGee worked for the Federal Aviation Administration, certified for HVAC maintenance and repair, avionic flight mechanics and airway transportation systems.
McGee’s attorney argued in the sentencing document that he should receive six months’ probation, including 30 days of home confinement, and a fine of no more than $1,000.
But in a letter to U.S. District Judge Randolph D. Moss, McGee asked “for leniency or an outright dismissal of the charges.”
McGee said he was forced into retirement from his FAA job after the agency was told that he was under investigation for his actions on Jan. 6.
“I feel as though I have been more than punished by being forced out of my job over the 1 minute and 51 seconds that I spent inside of the U.S. Capitol, after walking past a group of 5 police officers who were oblivious to the line of people entering the building, and said nothing as to our entry (one officer actually fist bumped one of the protesters) and then through an open door,” he said. “I didn’t scream, holler, raise my flag or any other thing that could be construed as disrespectful.”
McGee’s sentencing document included letters of support from a longtime friend, a former FAA supervisor and former fellow soldier.
“Brian McGee is not a bad person at all,” wrote Army veteran Steven J. Lammers, who said he deployed to Kuwait and Iraq with McGee in 2003 and 2004. “He is not part of any right-wing faction or group. He is a father, a Soldier, a patriot and a good American.
“…Did some people that day do bad things, absolutely. Should they be punished, probably. Brian McGee is not one of them. If you want to get a perspective on this, it took you longer to read this letter than the amount of time he was in the hallway of the U.S. Capitol. With all humility and sincerity, I ask you to dismiss his case, he is a good man.”