Capitol riot suspect Doug Jensen violated terms of release to watch election conspiracies online, prosecutors say

William Morris
Des Moines Register

Barely a month after a judge allowed Capitol riot suspect Doug Jensen out of jail, prosecutors are asking to send him back.

Jensen, 42, of Des Moines was arrested in the days following the Jan. 6 attack after he was seen on widely-shared video at the head of a group following a Capitol Police officer inside the building. After spending six months in a D.C. jail, he successfully petitioned the court in July to grant him pretrial release. His lawyer said he had renounced his previous belief in the QAnon conspiracy and promised he would abide by whatever terms the court set.

Prosecutors say both of those statements were false. In a motion filed Thursday, they say that, despite Jensen being ordered not to access the internet or have access to his family's internet-connected devices, a pretrial services officer caught him in his garage streaming news from a right-wing site to a wifi-enabled iPhone, to which he had the password.

Jensen reportedly falsely claimed the phone was his daughter's, and later admitted he'd spent two days watching the Cyber Symposium, an event organized by pillow manufacturer and leading Stop the Steal advocate Mike Lindell.

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It appears from court documents the discovery happened Aug. 12 or 13. Jensen was initially released from custody July 14.

Prosecutors note that Jensen is already being monitored with the most stringent level of pretrial supervision available. The only option for the court to respond to Jensen's breach, they say, is to return him to custody.

"Jensen managed to violate one of the most difficult-to-enforce conditions in the most egregious way imaginable," Assistant U.S. Attorney Hava Mirell wrote. "He has proven that not even six months in jail will deter him."

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The breach of Jensen's conditions, and in particular his choice of viewing material, also disputes Jensen's claim that he has put election conspiracy theories behind him, prosecutors say.

"Jensen’s swift violation confirms what the Government and this Court suspected all along: that Jensen’s alleged disavowal of QAnon was just an act; that his alleged epiphany inside the D.C. Jail was merely self-advocacy; and that, at the end of the day, Jensen will not abandon (QAnon)," Mirell wrote.

The motion also notes that Jensen's wife, who agreed to serve as his pretrial custodian, allegedly allowed him access to internet devices, making her unsuitable to continue overseeing him.

Judge Timothy Kelly, who is overseeing Jensen's case, has ordered Jensen to file any response by Monday. Jensen's attorney declined to comment Friday.

William Morris covers courts for the Des Moines Register. He can be contacted at, 715-573-8166 or on Twitter at @DMRMorris.