Somerville man who sat in Senate chamber during Jan. 6 riot sentenced to a year in prison

Noah S. Bacon, wearing an “I Heart Trump” T-shirt, sits in the back of the Senate Chamber during the January 6 US Capitol riots. (US Federal Court)US Federal Court

A Somerville man who participated in the takeover of the US Senate chambers during the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the US Capitol and tried to cover up a security camera was sentenced to one year in federal prison, records show.

Noah S. Bacon, 30, who taught yoga at the Cambridge Council on Aging before his arrest in June 2021, was convicted of one felony and four misdemeanors by a jury in US District Court in Washington, D.C., in March, court records show.

Bacon is the nephew of former US Attorney for Massachusetts Frank L. McNamara, Jr., who wrote a letter of support to the court. He is the son of Rev. Robert Bacon, rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Lynnfield and his wife, Sonia DeMarta. Bacon was former Governor William Weld’s deputy director of legislative affairs, according to court records.

Both parents wrote to the judge, saying their son was a liberal who inexplicably became fascinated with former President Donald Trump during the COVID-19 lockdown, when he smoked marijuana heavily and lived on his own.

“The Trump thing is a complete mystery to us. I cannot think of two people who are more polar opposites of one another than Noah Bacon and Donald Trump,” Robert Bacon wrote. “Noah is a unique soul. He’s on a journey that many don’t understand. But as a priest who tries to live by the teachings and example of Jesus Christ, I am very proud of him for the ways in which he seeks out the truly spiritual, loving, and unifying path of life. He is the first to admit that everything about January 6 and his participation in it, was absolutely wrong.

According to federal prosecutors, Bacon spent 50 minutes inside the Capitol during the attack, walking through the Crypt, Hall of Columns, Rotunda, the East Rotunda Door vestibule area, the Senate Gallery, and the Senate chamber.

He unlocked a door that allowed other rioters to enter the Senate chamber, prosecutors said. He took a seat in the rear of the chamber where he remained for 10 minutes but was not one of the rioters who rifled through desks, prosecutors said. During the 50 minutes he spent inside the Capitol, he also put a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag over a security camera. and unlocked a door, allowing more rioters to flood into the Senate chamber, prosecutors said.

In a sentencing memorandum filed July 14, prosecutors asked that Bacon be sentenced to 37 months in prison, saying he “stormed the United States Capitol building on January 6, wearing a white “I [heart] Trump” T-shirt and a black Space Force baseball hat.”

In the days and weeks before the riot, Bacon had privately expressed his frustration about the election results in text messages with a friend, prosecutors said.

“Bacon’s text messages reveal that he actively followed the various efforts by former Trump attorney Sidney Powell and certain members of the former administration to subvert or call into question the outcome of the 2020 election,” the memo said.

At trial, Bacon took the stand in his own defense. Prosecutors said Bacon’s testimony was “not only not credible, but it was also demonstrably false in many respects.”

Bacon claimed that after the deployment of a flash-bang device outside the Capitol “his actions were unconscious (or less conscious) from that point forward,” prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said Bacon “offered absurd explanations and denials in a bald-faced attempt to defeat the essential element of mens rea,” or criminal intent.

The proposed sentence “reflects the gravity of Bacon’s conduct, his lack of remorse, and his patently false testimony at trial.” prosecutors said.

In a statement filed with the court on July 18, Bacon said he attended Trump’s rally before the riot because he was “interested to hear Trump’s speech and was expecting a discourse on his legal plans for his road to re-election and a celebration of America.”

At the Capitol, he said he was expecting more speeches and “pushed towards the front of the crowd to get a better view of the speech I was expecting.”

“Then, people started becoming aggressive and the police set off non-lethal deterrents. Everything changed in the chaos, and I stopped thinking,” he said. “When I found myself at the top of the Capitol steps I saw people fighting far to my right and an open door far to my left. Without even meaning to, I ran towards the open door. I don’t know what motivated me to go through that door, but I did.”

In a letter to the sentencing judge asking for leniency, Bacon acknowledged that his actions on Jan. 6 were wrong. While sitting in the Senate chamber, he meditated and asked police officers for directions to leave the building, he wrote.

“I found myself in a highly unusual and problematic situation and so meditated to center myself and try to change the energy around me for the better,” he wrote. “My actions on January 6th of 2021 were made in the moment and I deeply regret them. They are not an accurate reflection of my being nor of my potential.”

Bacon, who was attending Bunker Hill Community College at the time of his arrest, has been free on personal recognizance since his arrest by the FBI’s Boston office. It was not immediately clear Friday when he will be required to surrender to the US Bureau of Prisons and begin serving his sentence.


John R. Ellement can be reached at john.ellement@globe.com. Follow him @JREbosglobe. Martin Finucane can be reached at martin.finucane@globe.com.

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