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WND's Gateway To Capitol Riot Misinformation

WorldNetDaily is so desperate to whitewash the crimes of participants in the Capitol riot that it's republishing highly biased and omission-laden articles from the discredited Gateway Pundit.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 4/29/2024

WorldNetDaily has long attempted to whitewash the crimes of the participants in the Capitol riot, and now it's adding a new wrinkle to that campaign: republishing ridiculously biased and omission-laden stories from the notoriously unreliable Gateway Pundit. That's doesn't exactly enhance WND's already shaky journalistic reputation.

WND republished an pathos-laden July 16 Gateway Pundit article written by onetime WND reporter Alicia Powe:

J6 defendants Casey Cusick, his elderly father James Cusick, and David Lesperance, a family friend who is also elderly, are facing up to three years in prison for walking into the Capitol building on January 6 for nine minutes to use the bathroom.

When they entered the Capitol building, a cop told them how to get to the bathroom while other surrounding law enforcement officials waved the massive crowd of peaceful demonstrators into the building as lawmakers certified the stolen 2020 election results.


Casey, a father of three, James, a 74-year-old pastor and purple heart recipient and David, a 70-year old grandfather, are charged with four federal felonies for stopping to use the bathroom in the Capitol building, including Knowingly Entering or Remaining in any Restricted Building or Grounds Without Lawful Authority, Disorderly or Disruptive Conduct in a Restricted Building, and Violent Entry and Disorderly Conduct on Capitol Grounds, according to the Department of Justice.

To everyday Americans, the government’s charges against Casey, James and David are bogus, absurd and preposterous. But the litigation will not be an open and shut case.

The odds are stacked against J6 defendants on trial in the District of Columbia, where the pool of potential jurors has a 92 percent rate of voting for Joe Biden in the District of Columbia. District federal judges have almost resoundingly sided with the government against so-called insurrectionists, resulting in an overwhelming, unprecedently high conviction rate for J6 defendants.

That two of the defendants are “elderly” is irrelevant to the case, and it’s something Powe apparently added to up the perceived victimhood quotient. While the Cusecs and Lesperance appear to have not to have committed any violence, there is much evidence that they were inside the Capitol when they weren’t supposed to be. Powe also neglected to mention that, as a real journalism organization did, that the Cusicks’ church “presented a blend of Christian theology and patriotism to its audience,” but appears to be currently inactive.

Powe also complained that “The Justice Department’s U.S. Attorney’s offices have secured a 99.8% conviction rate on at least one charge in each case, including half through guilty pleas,” but didn’t mention that this is in no small part due the fact that many of the defendants documented their behavior and posted it on social media, and there was plenty of other video available to document what people did. Indeed, the charging document for the Cusicks and Lesperance point out that CCTV inside the Capitol and Capitol Police body cameras captured them, and geolocation data from Lesperance’s phone placed him inside the Capitol; photos taken by Lesperance show the Cusicks (which Lesperance tried to delete but were recovered from his iCloud account).

Powe went on to state that “When Casey, James and John left Washington, DC, they had no inclination that they had committed any crime on January 6” — never mind the fact that it should have been obvious that entering a restricted public building as part of a mob was a crime.

Powe also hyped claims of innocence by the trio’s lawyer, John Pierce:

Despite the tainted jury pool and corrupt judges, Pierce is confident the Cusicks and Lesperance will be acquitted.

“This is by far, might be the best chance anybody has to get a full-on jury verdict acquittal of all charges because the facts are probably the best of any facts that we have in the case,” he said. “These defendants are pretty much the most credible and sympathetic defendants in any case. Our plan is to win this — I mean, every defendant, every charge, not guilty.”

In fact, by the time WND published this story, the Cusicks and Lesperance had been found guilty on all charges WND didn’t see fit to report this development to its readers, and it was also silent when they were sentenced a couple months later to 10 days in jail.

WND -- which has long been apologists for the violent thugs in the Proud Boys-- republished an Aug. 3 Gateway Pundit article by Powe under the wildly dishonest headline “J6 political prisoner faces 10 to 12 years in prison for walking into Capitol for a few minutes”:

Zachary Rehl, a J6 political prisoner and former Proud Boys leader who was found guilty of seditious conspiracy, vows to fight for his innocence until he is “fully exonerated and so no one has to live in fear of persecution for exercising their 1st Amendment rights again.”

The 37-year-old Marine Corps veteran was apprehended by the Federal Bureau of Investigations on April 17, 2021, for “his role in the Capitol riot.” His wife was six months pregnant when the bureau’s stormtroopers terrorized their home in a pre-dawn raid — the shock and trauma that nearly resulted in the loss of their unborn baby.

On January 6, Rehl committed no violent crimes.

Rehl and his co-defendants, two-time purple heart recipient Stf. Sgt. Joseph Biggs and Washington Proud Boys leader Ethan Nordean merely walked into the Capitol building for approximately 20 minutes after choking on clouds of tear gas and dodging the rubber bullets and flash grenades police indiscriminately fired at the crowd of unarmed protesters.

Enrique Tarrio, the former national chairman of the Proud Boys and another of Rehl’s co-defendants found guilty of seditious conspiracy, ie. thoughtcrime, is the only J6 political prisoner who wasn’t even in Washington, DC on January 6 during the Capitol riot.

Powe is lying. Rehl didn’t merely walk around the Capitol “for a few minutes” — he assaulted law enforcement by spraying a chemical irritant at them, lied about doing that during his trial, broke into a senator’s office where he smoked and posed for pictures, then expressed pride for the Proud Boys assault he helped lead afterwards in a message to his mother: “”Seems like our raid of the capital set off a chain reaction of events throughout the country.”

But rather then tell her readers the truth, Powe continued to dishonestly portray Rehl as a victim and the Proud Boys as nothing but a “drinking fraternity”:

Rehl has been incarcerated for two and half years, most of which has been in isolation in a six by eight-foot cell at the Alexandria Detention Center. In June, he and his co-defendants were finally released from solitary confinement and are currently housed in the “patriot pod” of the DC Gulag.

Organizing patriotic events in Philadelphia, including the “March for Trump,” “Back the Blue” demonstrations and rallies to “Celebrate the Constitution at the Liberty Bell” led to Rehl becoming Philadelphia’s leader of the Proud Boys, a drinking fraternity that was prompted to safeguard patriots at free speech and prayer rallies as they constantly fended off violent attacks from fascist Antifa anarchists.

For his leadership in the Proud Boys, a conservative group demonized as “xenophobic” by the corporate press, and his military service, Rehl faces more severe retribution by the DOJ.

Powe also included a self-serving letter by Rehl to the Gateway Pundit in which he “describes how he cultivated courage and resilience through the tragic loss of his father when he was just 12, the nationwide “brotherhood” he found as leader of the Proud Boys after his service in the Marine Corps and how emerging victorious in the fight for his freedom will prevent every American from being persecuted for exercising their God-given, inalienable rights.”

When Rehl was sentenced, WND went once again to Powe and the Gateway Pundit, reprinting another wildly dishonest article on  Sept. 1 rehashing per previous false claims and insisting that he was sentenced merely “for being in the wrong place at the wrong time — walking through the Capitol building for approximately 20 minutes during the Capitol riot on Jan. 6.” She went on to rage:

These evil men in Washington D.C. condemned Zachary Rehl, a young father and Marine veteran, to prison for attending a rally and walking in the open doors at the U.S. Capitol.

This is the definition of evil.

We can no longer fool ourselves. The America we once knew is long gone. We now live under the boot of the regime.

The role that Rehl and Tarrio, Nordean, and Biggs played in “organizing” the Jan. 6, 2021 “attack” on the U.S. Capitol “threatened the bedrock principles of our country’ and warranted the significant punishment,” government lawyers argued in a court filing late Thursday.


Zachary Rehl cried today on the stand before his sentencing. They are going to destroy this man and his family.

They forced this man to repent in his struggle session.

Why shouldn’t a violent criminal face accountability for his crimes? Powe was not interested in answering that question. She also didn’t consider the likelihood that Rehl’s tears were self-pity for having to face that accountability.

WND again dipped into the Gateway Pundit well with a republished Aug. 17 article written by Jim Hoft:

January 6 political prisoner Ryan Samsel has been held in prison without trial now since January 2021.

During his two-and-a-half years without trial Ryan has been moved around to 17 different facilities. Ryan has been beaten, abused, tortured, and neglected since his arrest in January 2021.

Earlier this week The Gateway Pundit received exclusive photos from Ryan Samsel’s prison cell at the FDC in Philadelphia. The cell was a size of a closet with a light on all of the time. The cell had a thin blue mattress, no sheets or blankets, no clothing, and he was kept here for five months straight.

The photos are just shocking. This is taking place in America today. This is who we are.


Ryan believes the government tortured him for months so he would rat out the Proud Boys. They even beat Ryan numerous times and kept him locked down so he couldn’t communicate with anyone.

This torture is taking place in America today.

Where is the Republican Party?

Where is the ACLU, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch?
Missing from Hoft’s manufactured pity piece is any substantiation of the claims he makes about Samsel, as well as any mention of what Samsel did. The latter was summarized by the Department of Justice when he was indicted:
According to court documents, Samsel was captured in publicly available video taken of a crowd pushing and pulling on barricades on the west side of the Capitol. In the process of pushing the barricades to the ground, Samsel and others knocked over a U.S. Capitol Police officer, causing a head injury as the officer’s head hit the ground. In another confrontation, according to court documents, Samsel attempted to pull a riot shield from a uniformed U.S. Capitol Police officer.

We thought right-wingers didn’t like it when police officers were assaulted. But that’s not all; he had quite the criminal record even before the Capitol riot. As a more fact-based news outlet reported, Samsel has been accused of attacking other people, usually women, at least six times, and he had at least four prior convictions for crimes that sometimes left his victims fearing for their lives. At the time of the riot, he had an open warrant regarding accusations that he broke into a woman’s house to attack her and was on parole for brutally assaulting his pregnant girlfriend.

On top of all that, Samsel reportedly wrote a letter last year talking about getting rid of politicians with a woodchipper, and he has previously made several statements about stabbing or punching FBI agents.

Samsel claims to have been beaten by jail guards after an argument over toilet paper escalated. But it does appear that he’s getting back what he did to other people.

There’s a reason Hoft censored that information — he wants to falsely portray Samsel as a martyr when he’s really nothing more than a thug who apparently can’t take what he’s been dishing out for years. And WND is more than happy to help perpetuate that false narrative. Indeed, a republished Aug. 23 Gateway Pundit article by Hoft continued ranting on Samsel's behalf:

Last week The Gateway Pundit published exclusive images of January 6 prisoner Ryan Samsel held in a prison cell at the FDC in Philadelphia the size of a closet with a light on all of the time. The cell had a thin blue mattress, no sheets or blankets, no clothing, and he was kept here for five months straight.

January 6 political prisoner Ryan Samsel has been held in prison without trial now since January 2021.

During his two-and-a-half years without trial Ryan has been moved around to 17 different facilities. Ryan has been beaten, abused, tortured, and neglected since his arrest in January 2021.

The photos are just shocking. This is taking place in America today. This is who we are.

Hoft offered no evidence that Samsel is being treated no worse than anyone else awaiting trial for criminal actions, and he offered no evidence he was ever concerned about such conditions before. And, again, Hoft also censored what Samsel is accused of and his previous lengthy criminal record.

WND published yet another Gateway Pundit article by Powe defending Samsel on Dec. 31:

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons acts as the coercion arm of the politically weaponized Department of Justice, torturing J6 political hostages to coerce them into flipping on Trump in exchange for their freedom.

Viral photographs of Samsel allegedly locked in a “hard cell” in FDC Philadelphia are a glimpse of the cruel and unusual treatment he’s endured in a series of assaults by correctional officers in pretrial custody and attempts by dirty cops to manipulate him with enhanced interrogation to cooperate in a plea agreement.

During multiple interrogations, FBI agents allegedly pressured Samsel into taking a deal that entailed affirming their bogus narrative claiming the January 6 “insurrection” was conspired by the Proud Boys and President Trump to go home or pay the price.

As her boss Hoft did, Powe refused to explain to readers what, exactly, Samsel is accused of doing during the riot — specifically, knocking over a Capitol Police officer while trying to destroy barricades around the Capitol, causing her to suffer a concussion. And Powe definitely won’t tell readers about Samsel’s history of criminality and violence, including the fact that at the time of the riot, he had an open warrant regarding accusations that he broke into a woman’s house to attack her and was on parole for brutally assaulting his pregnant girlfriend. Samsel also reportedly wrote a letter talking about getting rid of politicians with a woodchipper, and he has previously made several statements about stabbing or punching FBI agents.

But at the Gateway Pundit, just as with WND, narrative is more important than facts, so Powe went on to uncritically repeat unsubstantiated claims about Samsel’s purported mistreatment in prison. Powe also complained that the fact that nothing Samsel said has been proven was called out:

State-run fact-checker Snopes immediately tried to delegitimize Samsel’s story about being tortured, citing a public affairs official at the Federal Bureau of Prisons who claimed the photos where he is locked in the hard cell “do not depict a cell at FDC Philadelphia.” Jail personnel including BOP public affairs officials have a history of demonstrably lying to this publication.

An article published by 1776 titled, “The Tangled Web of J6 Truth And Lies In The Case of Ryan Samsel” claims the photos were not real, blasting TGP for publishing “malarkey.” Using a voice-changing device, two men who claimed to be inmates told the publication Samsel’s story was “fabricated” and the photos were taken in a janitor’s closet.

“All of the stories recently on The Gateway Pundit — his interviews with eyepatches saying his arms don’t work, and a picture of him laying down in some broom closet –they are completely fabricated,” a man with a concealed voice told 1776 Returns reporter Mel Hawley. “When I saw that picture I started laughing my ass off. I’m like, he’s in a fucking janitor’s closet... The fact that everybody is blowing it up with this story and I’m sitting back here going really guys — you’re really going to fall for this?”

“I haven’t heard from Ryan in a minute. Maybe he’s just back in the janitor’s closet,” Hawley reports. “Which guard was cleaning out your potty bucket? Who took these pics? How did these pics get ‘leaked?’ Was the janitor mad that his closet was appropriated?”

“All those who were fooled into thinking this is not the American prison system. Think again. This is real,” Samsel said in response to the “fact-checks.” “I’m not the only one who was caged in that cell, it was just my turn. People don’t believe this is a real thing. This is the American prison system.
Still, Powe offered nothing to substantiate Samsel’s claims or to prove the 1776 Returns article incorrect.

Interestingly, when Samsel was convicted in February on riot-related charges along with four others, WND was completely silent — not even bothering to regurgitate Gateway Pundit propaganda about it.

Other rioters

WND touted a republished Sept. 2 Gateway Pundit article by Hoft:

22-year-old Nejourde Meacham died on August 28, 2021, two weeks after the Biden regime charged him with four misdemeanor crimes for walking inside the open doors on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

The Marxists arrested Jorde for this display

Jourde was just 22.

Another day of celebration on the left.

Jourde died on August 28th.

This will be another death ignored by Republican lawmakers.
In addition to getting the year of Meacham’s death wrong — it was 2023, not 2021 — and offering no evidence whatsoever that anyone on “the left” is celebrating Meacham’s death, Hoft undermined his manufactured outrage by embedding a tweet by author Ryan J. Reilly pointing out that Meacham was arrested for “four basic misdemeanors that often result in plea deals and probationary sentences.”In other words, the legal peril Meacham faced was not all that great; he was simply facing the consequences of his actions, and we thought right-wingers like Hoft supported criminals facing justice.

While Meacham’s suicide is tragic, most people don’t commit suicide over misdemeanor charges, suggesting that there may have been other mental health issues involved that haven’t been disclosed. Hoft and WND, meanwhile, are perfectly happy to exploit Meacham’s death to further the lie of election fraud in 2020 and falsely portray criminals as “political prisoners” — which may be the greater, and more avoidable, tragedy.

Hoft served up more dishonesty in a republished Sept. 6 article:

Infowars host Owen Shroyer pleaded guilty in June to a single Class A Misdemeanor of Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building or Grounds on January 6, 2021.

The highly talented journalist was initially charged in August 2021 — eight months after remaining outside the US Capitol on January 6.

After nearly two years of fighting charges related to his presence outside the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 Owen made the decision to plead guilty to a lesser charge.

Shroyer allowed the government to review his social media accounts — likely looking for any scrap of incriminating wrong-think they could find.

Owen stood outside the US Capitol. Owen and Alex Jones warned people about going inside the Capitol. They knew it was a setup. Instead of being awarded medals for their actions that day, the regime arrested Owen months later on bogus charges. After all, he IS a Trump supporter.

Today DOJ prosecutors sought 120 days of prison time for Owen. They want him prosecuted for “speech crimes.”

Who are the real criminals here?

Do not fool yourself. The regime wants to treat every Trump supporter like this. They want to jail us all. And they will do just that if we let them.

Hoft, unsurprisingly, is lying. As an honest and credible media outlet reported, Shroyer was facing prison time despite not entering the Capitol because he violated a 2019 agreement with authorities — made after he interrupted a congressional hearing — that deferred prosecution because he agreed “loud, threatening, or abusive language, or to engage in any disorderly or disruptive conduct, at any place upon the United States Capitol Grounds.”

When Shroyer was sentenced to 60 days in jail — half of what was sought by prosecutors — WND reprinted another screed on Sept. 12, this time by Powe:

Infowars reporter and War Room host Owen Shroyer was sentenced to 60 DAYS IN PRISON – Owen stood outside the Capitol and warned Trump supporters not to go inside the U.S. Capitol.

Owen also frequently spoke out against the stolen 2020 election.

DOJ prosecutors sought prison time against Owen for this speech crime!

For this he was sentenced to 60 DAYS IN PRISON.


Owen stood outside the U.S. Capitol. Owen and Alex Jones warned people about going inside the Capitol. They knew it was a setup.

Instead of being awarded medals for their actions that day, the regime arrested Owen months later on bogus charges. After all, he IS a Trump supporter.

Today DOJ prosecutors sentenced Owen Shroyer to 60 days of prison. They want him prosecuted for “speech crimes.”

Like Hoft, Powe is lying by censoring the fact that Shroyer is getting jail because he violated a previous deferred-prosecution agreement. She also didn’t mention that, as another credible news outlet reported, Shroyer was very much riling up the crowd — not trying to turn them away — and that the judge told him, “I do not believe that you were trying to distract the crowd or turn the crowd away from the Capitol.”

It has since been reported that Infowars won’t pay Shroyer’s salary while he’s rotting in jail, which is arguably hilarious for everyone not named Owen Shroyer, Gateway Pundit or WND.

Hoft was brought in by WND again in a reprinted Sept. 9 article to defend another Proud Boy rioter who was sentenced to prison for his leading role in the riot:

On Thursday The Gateway Pundit’s Cara Castronuovo reported that Biden officials asked him to lie about President Trump in order to indict him!

“They asked me to LIE about President Trump in order to indict him,” Enrique Tarrio exclusively told the Gateway Pundit. “I told them to pound sand, and because I refused to lie about President Trump it cost me twenty-two years of my life.

“The truth is, I could have been home,” said Tarrio. “I could have been home a long time ago. I could be in my warm ass bed right now, laughing at the world, without a problem…and all I had to do in order to do that WAS LIE ABOUT TRUMP. All I had to do was confirm a lie.”

But prosecutors offer deals to defendants all the time to gain a guilty plea on lesser charges in exchange for testimony against other defendants. Tarrio (and Hoft) framing this as prosecutors trying to get Tarrio to lie is dishonest and shows a willful misunderstanding of how the justice system works.

WND had Hoft whine again about supposed mistreatment of Capitol rioters in a Sept. 15 article:

The devastating reality of 23 hours per day solitary confinement is back for the January 6 political prisoners.

Today the DC Jail announced that the J6 patriot pod would be on lockdown for refusing to submit to COVID testing! This lockdown status is a horrific recurring nightmare for many of the nearly 40 Jan 6 detainees surviving in the Gulag.

In an exclusive statement the Gateway Pundit obtained from J6 prisoner for 980 days without a trial, Jake Lang, we learn what it was like living through nearly 20 months of solitary confinement & COVID lockdowns in prison. “I can’t believe we are back to this, it is truly the most inhumane way to treat people. Even a dog gets to go outside once a day! 23 hours locked in your cell alone everyday has a severe effect on the human psyche – and is considered Cruel & Unusual punishment by the Geneva Convention. It is a torture designed to crumble the resolve of even the strongest people, without a relationship with Jesus – it would have broke me.”

Or you know, Lang and the others could simply take the stupid COVID test. Neither Hoft nor Lang offered any evidence to prove that taking the simple test is an onerous violation of anyone’s rights or why taking it was not a possibility. As ConWebWatch reported (but Hoft won’t), Lang faces multiple felony charges in part because he attacked law enforcement with a baseball bat.

One more point: If WND is republishing wildly dishonest articles like these — from a far-right website that is currently being sued for defaming election workers by falsely accusing them of adding election ballots from a suitcase — what does it say about WND’s commitment to journalism? Nothing good. It merely shows that WND still hasn’t learned the lesson that its longtime embrace of fake news and conspiracy theories caused its current and ongoing precarious financial situation. It certainly raises even more questions about WND’s desire to remain in business that it considers Hoft and the Gateway Pundit to be a reliable news source worth republishing without question.

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