Filing alleges brainwashing led to Longview man’s involvement in Jan. 6 riot

Ryan Nichols
Ryan Nichols(Nichols - Smith Co Jail, Harkrider -Gregg Co Jail)
Published: Jun. 22, 2023 at 3:51 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (KLTV) - Lawyers for a Longview man indicted for his involvement with the riot at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021 are now claiming their client’s alleged actions are due to brainwashing.

In a Washington, D.C. district court filing dated June 20, 2023, lawyers for Ryan Nichols claim that were it not for “1% Watchdog’s continued manipulation of Nichols’ life,” Nichols would not have participated in the violent actions that attempted to prevent the certification of votes to make Joe Biden president. The filing alleges that 1% Watchdog, who first made contact with Nichols in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence as Nichols was operating his search and rescue nonprofit, presented himself as as veteran with PTSD and a “connected government man with important contacts.” Nichols’ lawyers say their client was preyed upon by 1% Watchdog and the political chatrooms they started, which would involve topics such as “patriotism, service, country, and election integrity.”

“(1% Watchdog) radicalized them to the extent they were willing to travel and do combat with Antifa because of his grooming and coaching. As the year progressed, veterans who had never been to a single protest in their life, were lining up to go to Washington, DC (sic) on January 6, 2021,” the filing states.

Nichols’ attorneys claim that 1% Watchdog organized and rallied “hundreds of people” toward attendance at the United States Capitol.

“On January 6 itself, 1% Watchdog helped lead protestors to the Capitol, encouraged them to enter, and advocated for violence,” the filing stated. “On one recording 1% Watchdog states “It looks like Pence is doing his traitorous bull****, and the election stealing is in progress. It looks to me, at this point, that that’s a felony high-crime and treason in prison inside the National Capitol building.”

The FBI affidavit included this screenshot of an alleged Facebook post by Ryan Nichols (right)...
The FBI affidavit included this screenshot of an alleged Facebook post by Ryan Nichols (right) showing him and Alex Harkrider in front a large crowd at the U.S. Capitol Building. (Source: Department of Justice)(Department of Justice)

The filing casts aspersions on the federal government for allowing 1% Watchdog to remain “unidentified and seemingly ‘at large’” and says it “raises concerns about the FBI’s apparent lack of curiosity and urgency in apprehending such individuals.”

As such, Nichols’ attorneys claim 1% Watchdog is a “federal asset.”

“We have expressed this to the Government, but the Government has refused to discuss 1% Watchdog,” the filing states. “Based on his prior knowledge of Nichols, 1% Watchdog played a direct, explicit, and personal role in influencing Nichols to come to Washington, D.C, and we are entitled to know what, if any, relationship 1% Watchdog had with the Government.”

Furthermore, the filing also claims that an additional party, identified as Marcus DiPaola, also had significant influence in Nichols’ decision to travel to Washington, D.C. on January 6. DiPaola is said to have met Nichols also during Hurricane Florence rescue efforts. The filing states DiPaola made claims to Nichols about being “associated with the White House,” via a shirt with the official White House seal and a White House challenge coin. According to the filing, DiPaola at one point called Nichols and claimed “government agents” were out to get him and Nichols, although DiPaola apparently later walked these claims back, blaming it on “psych issues.” Nichols’ lawyers claim that DiPaola was directly responsible for convincing Nichols to wear protective gear on January 6.

However, they also claim that despite DiPaola’s participation in the January 6 event by breaching the Eastern Terrace’s Columbus doors, filming “some of the most incriminating footage used against January 6th Defendants,” and “wearing body armor, recruiting people to go to the Capitol on January 6, 2021, and materially participating in the events of that day,” DiPaola has yet to be charged. The filing claims that DiPaola is directly responsible for incriminating Nichols to the FBI in a sworn statement, despite the name in the statement being redacted.

Nichols’ trial date has been set for Wednesday, Nov. 8.