Patrick Stedman, Capitol riot defendant from Haddonfield, sentenced

WASHINGTON, DC. – A Haddonfield man has been sentenced to four years in prison for his role in the January 2021 Capitol riot.

Patrick Stedman, a 35-year-old dating and relationship coach for men, also must pay a $20,000 fine, as well as $2,000 in restitution for Capitol damage caused by the riot.

The prison term is the longest to be given to an insurrection defendant from South Jersey.

At 48 months, it falls well below the sentencing range of 70 to 81 months that had been proposed by the Justice Department.

But the term’s substantially above a sentencing range proposed by the defense of eight to 14 months.

A prosecutor had requested a 6½-year prison term for Stedman, saying he encouraged other rioters to smash the main door of the House Chamber and threatened police officers during his 40 minutes inside the Capitol.

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The Justice Department also said Stedman spread misinformation about the 2020 presidential election and recruited rioters from among his more than 25,000 followers on X, the social platform formerly known as Twitter.

In a recent court filing, defense attorney Rocco Cipparone described Stedman’s actions at the Capitol as “a clear aberration.”

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The Mullica Hill attorney said Stedman did not engage in violence or vandalism, and asserted his alleged threat to police was a misinterpretation of his client’s words.

Cipparone said Howell chopped 30 months off the prosecution’s sentencing request, a pleasant surprise to the defense.

“Of course, I’m pleased that the court saw fit to see our mitigation as a reason to go below the guidelines,” Cipparone said. “And my client’s going to assess his options from here. But he’s moving forward in his life and trying to put this behind him as best he can.”

Prior to Friday’s hearing, Stedman wrote to his sentencing judge that he was “actually grateful for the experience of being indicted and even convicted.”

“The sentencing guideline range was 70 to 87 months,” Cipparone said after the sentencing. “The government asked for a sentence of 78 months, and I asked the judge to do what’s called a ‘downward variance’ from the guidelines for a whole variety of reasons.”

Patrick Stedman told judge he learned from his arrest for Capitol riot role

His trial was a form of “self-confrontation,” Stedman wrote to U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell.

“And what I saw when I was looking in the mirror was ugly,” Stedman wrote to Howell. “I was arrogant and vain, and desperate for attention.”

“I wanted to be seen as strong and tough,” Stedman’s letter said. “But most of all, I wanted acknowledgement – I wanted to be heard.”

“I was not thinking about the legal implications of my desire to showcase myself on social media, or how my cocky videos might be construed,” wrote Stedman, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Haddonfield Memorial High School.

“I was a fool, and like all fools I have suffered the consequences of my myopia.”

Patrick Stedman of Haddonfield, shown inside the Capitol during the January 2021 insurrection, was sentenced on Sept. 8.

Stedman’s letter claimed empathy for the police officers and elected officials in the Capitol during the riot, as well as for the nation.

Stedman’s letter said his experience since being arrested in January 2021 “has made me a better man and I am grateful for it.”

Howell also received letters from Stedman’s parents, both retired teachers, as well as other family members and friends. All sought leniency for the married father of two young children.

Stedman in May rejected a deal that would have recommended a sentencing range of 41 to 51 months in exchange for a guilty plea to a felony offense, interfering with an official act of Congress.

The prosecution would have requested dismissal of four misdemeanor charges under the proposed deal.

Stedman instead went to trial in June, where a jury found him guilty on all charges.

The other components of the sentence are a provision for three years of supervision after Stedman is free, a $20,000 fine, a $2,000 reimbursement requirement, and the standard list of special court assessments.

The court also agreed to recommend to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons that it assign Stedman to its facility at Fort Dix so he can be close to his family. The bureau also will decide when Stedman must surrender.

In announcing the sentence, the Justice Department said “numerous videos and photos documented Stedman’s offenses inside the Capitol building, including footage from police body-worn camera, open-source video, surveillance footage from inside the Capitol, and texts and messages he posted to social media.”

Cipparone said he expects to file an appeal but that remains a conversation to be had first with his client.

Stedman is among about 17 South Jersey residents charged in connection with the riot by supporters of then President Donald Trump.

Thirteen have now admitted guilt or been sentenced.

A defendant with Atlantic City and Philadelphia addresses, James Rahm Jr., previously received the longest term – incarceration for one year. Rahm is appealing that sentence.

Jim Walsh is a senior reporter with the Courier-Post, Burlington County Times and The Daily Journal. Email: jwalsh@cpsj.com.

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