- Dr. Simone Gold was sentenced to two months in prison for storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
- Gold is the founder of America’s Frontline Doctors, a prominent anti-vax group.
- AFLD claimed she was targeted for her anti-vax beliefs. The judge disagreed.
The founder of a prominent anti-vaccine group was sentenced to 60 days in prison for storming the Capitol, the Associated Press reported. Her organization said she was targeted for her views, a claim with which the judge disagreed.
Gold is the founder of the Tea Party-backed anti-vaccine campaign group, America’s Frontline Doctors, which is known for spreading coronavirus misinformation. As well as prison time, she was fined $9,500 for her role on January 6, 2021, during which she entered the Capitol and gave speeches, the AP reported.
Federal agents identified Gold from press and social-media footage, in which she could be seen within a crowd that was attempting to push past officers, and holding a megaphone inside the Capitol, a criminal complaint said.
Gold pleaded guilty to the charge of entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds in March, the AP reported.
She previously expressed regret for being in the Capitol, and told US District Judge Christopher Cooper at her sentencing that the riot was “destructive to our nation” and that her participation represented “the opposite” of who she is, the AP reported.
In a statement released prior to the sentencing on Thursday, America’s Frontline Doctors claimed Gold was targeted for her views.
“Like most January 6 defendants, [Gold] is a victim of selective prosecution,” it said, calling Gold’s arrest “inequitable treatment based upon political preference.”
Calling the situation “Orwellian,” the group said that free-speech rights were being chipped away and that “a concerted effort has been undertaken to ‘cancel’ physicians who do not follow the mainstream narrative.”
It also alluded to a debunked far-right conspiracy theory that FBI agents and “assets” influenced the crowd at the Capitol riot, saying the House select committee investigating the riot had not said “how many” such agents and assets were there. The committee dismissed this theory in January, as CNBC reported.
But the judge made it clear that Gold’s anti-vax beliefs were not a factor in the sentencing, the AP reported.
Nor, he said, were politics. “Your organization is leaving people with the misimpression that this is a political prosecution or that it’s about free speech,” Cooper said during his sentencing, per CNN.
America’s Frontline Doctors also said in its statement that Gold had traveled to Washington, DC, on January 6, 2021, to speak at a “health freedom” rally when she got “swept into” the Capitol. Once inside, she decided to give her rally speeches there but left when asked, the statement said.
But prosecutors noted in their complaint that press footage showed Gold and her companion, John Strand, in a crowd that was pushing past officers to get in, including one who was pushed to the ground near their feet.
Gold was not a “casual bystander,” Cooper said, according to the AP.
Cooper also said it was “unseemly” that America’s Frontline Doctors had raised more than $400,000 for Gold’s legal defense by calling the trial politically motivated, the AP reported.
As of Monday, 309 rioters, including Gold, had pleaded guilty for their role in the Capitol insurrection so far.