LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A federal judge denied bail Tuesday for an accused U.S. Capitol rioter arrested in Las Vegas, saying he remained a threat to the community for his continued communication following the Jan. 6. incident.
The FBI arrested Ronald “Ronnie” Sandlin outside of Nathaniel “Nathan” DeGrave’s apartment near the Las Vegas Strip on Jan. 29. The FBI had surveilled DeGrave’s residence and noticed Sandlin’s truck parked outside, documents filed in January said. DeGrave is also charged for his alleged role in the riot.
Sandlin, of Tennessee, was seen on video smoking weed inside the building. He is heard on the video saying, “People are smoking weed in here. Thank you, patriot. We made history in here,” according to court documents.
Sandlin had written on social media in January that he had planned to drive to Washington from Memphis, Tennessee, for former President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally, court documents said. However, no community where Sandlin is known to have resided, including Las Vegas, can find a record of him voting this past presidential cycle, the I-Team found. His lawyer said in a previous hearing that Sandlin had lived in Las Vegas for several years and planned to return.
In a bond hearing Tuesday, Judge Dabney Friedrich denied Sandlin’s request to be released into the custody of his parents while awaiting trial. Friedrich cited the government’s evidence that Sandlin has been texting with family and friends from inside his D.C. jail cell.
“I’m in a cell block with all Capitol people,” Sandlin texted on March 30, court documents said. “I’m proud to call them my friends we stood up for what we believed in and sacrificed. I’m looking forward to being a free man again and hopping on my motorcycle and riding off into the sunset far away from people and their machinations.”
Sandlin wrote he is writing a book about his experience and hoped to turn it into a movie.
“I plan on having Leonardo DiCaprio play me :-),” Sandlin wrote. “I have so many stories to tell.”
During Tuesday’s hearing, Sandlin’s lawyer told the judge his client is often coy in his remarks. Sandlin’s lawyer told the court Sandlin got “caught up in the act” on Jan 6.
Sandlin had a knife with him during the Capitol riot, but did not use or show it, prosecutors said. Video evidence shows Sandlin trying to rip a helmet off a police officer and opening up doors to the Senate chamber, prosecutors said.
According to prosecutors, Sandlin also attempted to sell footage of the riot before he was arrested. Citing evidence from the government that Sandlin came to the Washington area with guns and a knife, Friedrich said she could not release him, even with tight restrictions, such as GPS monitoring.
During a detention hearing in federal court in February, Sandlin asked a judge to “have mercy on” him. The judge noted Sandlin owes $500,000 in back taxes.
Sandlin is due back in court next month. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, which include assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers, civil disorder and obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting.