Who is Stephen Ayres?
- Stephen Ayers spoke to the committee Tuesday about what made him come to the rally
- Ayres is one of more than 840 people charged in connection with the Jan. 6 attack
- Ayres’ sentencing is set for September
Stephen Ayers, a former Donald Trump supporter who admitted participating in the attack on the US Capitol, spoke to the Jan. 6 committee on Tuesday about what made him come to the rally. He said at the hearing how the trust he placed in the former president derailed his life and ruined his reputation.
"It definitely changed my life, not for the good," Ayres said. "Definitely not for the better."
Ayres testified that he “felt like I had, like, horse blinders on” when he was following Trump. “The biggest thing to me is, take the blinders off. Make sure you step back and see what’s going on. Before it’s too late,” he said.
Ayres, who is one of more than 840 people who have been charged in connection with the Jan. 6 attack, said Tuesday that he went to the Capitol because Trump got everyone riled up and told them to go to there. “We basically were just following what he said," he said.
Ayres’ sentencing is set for September.
He was arrested on Jan. 25, 2021, and entered into a plea agreement earlier this year in which he pleaded guilty to disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds.
Ayres is not a member of the Proud Boys or the Oath Keepers, the extremist groups at the center of Tuesday's hearing.
Ayres, who was born in Ohio in 1983, had a family and a job at a cabinet company when he entered the Capitol.
An affidavit, which cited surveillance footage and Facebook screenshots provided by a witness, showed a tweet from Trump.
The Trump tweet posted on Dec. 27, 2020 encouraged his supporters to come to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6., according to the court filing.
“Where will you be on January 6th? Chilling at home? HOPING this country isn’t going to hell in a hand basket? Or are you willing to start fighting for the American Dream! Again!?!?” Ayres said regarding Trump’s tweet, the affidavit noted.
Ayres “and a handful of other people are headed to D.C. for the Trump rally on the 6th!! . . . . So hopefully we are going to hear about [how] all the DS are being tried for treason!!” he wrote in a separate post on Facebook in late December 2020.
The affidavit also noted that surveillance footage reviewed of the Capitol indicated that Ayres and another man were in the Senate lobby on the day of the riot. The family member was also able to confirm after reviewing screenshots of the footage taken of him at different points that the person in those photos was Ayres.