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'I made a huge mistake' | Georgia man gets 2 years probation in Jan. 6 Capitol riots case

Verden Nalley of Buford apologized in a brief statement Thursday before his sentencing.

ATLANTA — A Georgia man was sentenced Thursday to two years of probation and 60 hours of community service for his role in the insurrectionist riots at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Verden Nalley, of Buford, told a federal judge that, "I made a huge mistake" that day and apologized in a brief statement.

"I'm sorry to my family, the court and you and the justice system," he said. "I made the mistake, just trying to move on."

RELATED: Georgia ties to Jan. 6 riot | Dawson County defendant enters guilty plea, Gwinnett County resident to be sentenced

The judge declined to give Nalley any prison time, feeling his role in the riots - in which the government did not present evidence of his assaulting any officers or damaging any property - was "less egregious" than other cases she had heard.

She said Nalley appeared to be on a "different path" and described his trespassing at the Capitol on Jan. 6 as an "unusual event in his otherwise law-abiding record."

He was also ordered to pay a $500 restitution to the Capitol architect, for the general damage done that day, in lieu of a fine - which the judge said he would be unable to pay.

The judge also factored that Nalley had spent three nights in the Gwinnett County Jail when he was first arrested. The government had asked for a 14-day jail sentence.

Nalley pleaded guilty in December to misdemeanor offense of entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds.

He is one of nine Georgians to enter a guilty plea in Jan. 6 cases, and one of 23 people with ties to Georgia who were arrested.

Nalley is also the third to be sentenced in the cases, with Cleveland Meredith Jr. receiving two years in prison and Devlyn Thompson getting almost four years in prison.

The judge asked Nalley's attorney during Thursday's hearing if he'd learned his lesson, and the attorney responded: "Oh my goodness, in so many ways."

The government had sought a slightly harsher sentence, citing posts he made after Jan. 6 that alluded to returning to the Capitol in two weeks with guns. The judge said that such posts were highly offensive and exhibited extremely bad judgment, but noted that he did not act on those threats.

Over time, the judge said, he exhibited significant regret, accepted responsibility for his actions and was cooperative with the legal process.

At one point the judge asked if he would be testifying against W. McCall Calhoun, a south Georgia attorney who will face trial in his own Jan. 6 case. Nalley's attorney painted Calhoun as a friend of Nalley's an an influence in his decision to travel to Washington and eventually participate in the storming of the Capitol.

Prosecutors, however, said that they had "not engaged in those discussions" at this point.


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