New Jersey Dating Coach Gets 4 Years for Capitol Riots

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/DOJ
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/DOJ

A New Jersey dating coach for men—who donned a Trump-themed Christmas sweater as he breached the Capitol—is going to be wearing prison garb for the next four years.

Pat Stedman, 35, was convicted in June of five charges, including obstruction of an official proceeding. His lawyer, Rocco C. Cipparone, told The Daily Beast that U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell sentenced him Friday to 48 months in prison, three years of supervised release, a $20,000 fine, and $2,000 in restitution.

Ahead of the sentencing, prosecutors argued that Stedman, who bills himself as an expert in dating and relationships, should face 78 months in prison for his role in the Capitol riots—which included his online boast of being “among the first wave” of insurrectionists inside the Capitol and taking a photo inside Nancy Pelosi’s office. His lawyers asked for an eight- to 14-month sentence, contending that the married father of two did not participate in any violence.

“We are pleased the sentence was mitigated from the guideline range and from what sentence the government sought,” Cipparone said.

Throughout his five-day June trial, prosecutors detailed how Stedman urged his thousands of followers on Twitter to join him in D.C. on Jan. 6.

In addition to spreading misinformation about the 2020 presidential election, Stedman also regularly posted QAnon conspiracy theories and COVID denials. Stedman also tweets about his relationship coaching and his newsletter, which promises subscribers “nuanced dating advice that will improve your life.” On his website, Stedman states he has helped “hundreds of men and aggregated all their experiences into what I bring to coaching.”

“Highly, HIGHLY recommend all patriots come to DC on the 6th. This will be a turning point in our nation,” Stedman wrote in a Dec. 30, 2020, tweet, according to a criminal complaint. “Will eventually be a national holiday akin to the 4th of July. You will want to tell your grandchildren you were there.”

Prosecutors said that on Jan. 5, Stedman posted that he was traveling from New Jersey to D.C. The next morning, he went to a “Stop the Steal” rally and took a photo of himself dressed in a red MAGA hat and green-and-red sweater with Trump’s face and the phrase, “Make X-mas Great Again.” At trial, Stedman revealed he was with his clients,” whom he organized to meet before making his way to the Capitol.

Stedman then posted several videos from inside the Capitol, including one in which he is heard chanting “Break it down” outside the House of Representatives’ main door. Prosecutors argued in a sentencing memo that Stedman also “was part of a disorderly mob that overran police lines in the Crypt” and took a picture on Pelosi’s office balcony.

“Patriots took the hard drive from the Capitol,” Stedman tweeted, falsely stating that Trump sent the National Guard to assist MAGA rioters. “What did we tell you these last few months? The storm is here.”

He was arrested weeks after the riots after his former high school and college classmates turned him in to the FBI.

Stedman took the stand as the sole defense witness, insisting that he was merely exercising his First Amendment right to protest and that other rioters destroyed property or fought with law enforcement during the siege. He also said that the public scrutiny after his arrest was punishment enough.

“Please pray for me, and most especially for my family,” Stedman wrote in a Thursday tweet, alongside a photo of his family donning America-flag-inspired outfits.

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