A 24-year-old Costa Mesa man who sat in former Vice President Mike Pence’s vacated seat while storming the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection was sentenced Wednesday to three and a half years in prison.
Christian Alexander Secor — a former UCLA student who founded a conservative organization on the campus — accepted a plea deal earlier this year requiring he admit to a felony count of obstructing an official proceedings in return for the dismissal of other charges, such as assaulting, resisting, impeding officers and civil disorder.
In a 2020 Election Day text cited by prosecutors in court documents, Secor wrote “We’re going to win bigly and if we don’t we’re taking this ship down in flames,” following up a day later by writing, “They’re cheating. Trump will pull through by legal or illegal means.”
On Jan. 5, 2021, Secor traveled to Washington D.C., messaging another person on the way that he had “brought a gas mask” because he “expects(s) (expletive) to go sideways.”
A day later, Secor attended a “Stop the Steal” rally headlined by then-President Donald Trump before joining a mob in marching on the Capitol building, where congressional leaders were in the process of certifying Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
Secor entered the Senate building as a rioter with a bullhorn and shouted “They can’t stop us all!” Other members of the crowd chanted “Take it back! Take it back!” according to court documents.
While traveling through various parts of the Capitol building, Secor joined a crowd that overpowered three Capitol police officers and forced open doors. He eventually made his way to the Senate Floor, where he sat in a seat that had been occupied by Pence, who had been forced to evacuate the building a half-hour earlier.
After leaving the building, Secor boasted on Twitter that “One day accomplished more for conservatism than the last 30 years.” Two days later, Secor deleted his Twitter account.
Secor’s attorney, Brandi Harden, wrote in a sentencing brief that Secor “will forever regret” his decision to enter the Capitol, adding that his life since has been “turned upside down.”
“At the time of his trip to Washington D.C., he had become disillusioned by the hysteria about a stolen election coming from social media and news channels,” the defense attorney wrote. “Christian initially intended to attend the ‘Save America’ rally because he thought it was a protest about the 2020 election. He never set out to assault anyone or to participate in a riot.”
During his time at UCLA, Secor founded America First Bruins, a conservative campus organization. A self-described fascist, Secor allegedly called for America to become a “Whites-only” nation in social media posts.
After his arrest, the Bruin Republicans issued a statement indicating that Secor had been expelled from their organization for what they described as inappropriate behavior prior to the events of Jan. 6.
See also: List: These Southern California residents are accused of taking part in the Capitol riot
More than 800 people nationwide have been arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection — including more than two-dozen with ties to Southern California — as part of an unprecedented federal investigation.
More than 400 defendants have pleaded guilty to criminal charges related to the investigation, the bulk of whom admitted to misdemeanor counts that amounted to trespassing in the Capitol building or adjacent restricted grounds.