A former Beverly Hills man who along with an anti-vaccine doctor joined the mob that breached the U.S. Capitol in 2021 was convicted this week for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection.
A jury, following a federal trial in Washington, D.C., found John Strand, 39, guilty of a felony count of obstruction of an official proceedings, along with several misdemeanor counts that included entering a restricted building and disorderly conduct.
Strand — a model, actor and spokesman for the anti-vaccine group America’s Frontline Doctors — was arrested in January 2021 at a Beverly Hills home alongside Simone Gold, a doctor who during the pandemic became a leading source of coronavirus misinformation. Strand has since moved to Naples, Florida, according to the U.S. Attorneys Office.
Weeks before their arrest, Strand and Gold were among thousands of pro-Trump supporters who flooded the U.S. Capitol in an at-times-violent failed attempt to prevent Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
According to prosecutors, Strand and Gold marched with a mob that went from a Trump rally to restricted Capitol grounds. Some members of the mob broke through a defensive line of law enforcement officers, prosecutors said, and Strand and Gold were among those who made their way up the stairs to outside the East Rotunda Doors.
Another group that had already made its way inside the Capitol building forced the East Rotunda Doors open from the inside, and Strand and Gold were among those who entered the building and headed to the House Chamber.
According to prosecutors, Strand and Gold were near the front of the mob as it confronted a line of police officers by an entrance to the still-occupied House Chamber. The officers forced the mob out of the area, with one officer injured during the surge, prosecutors said.
Still in the Capitol, Strand and Gold stopped in Statuary Hall, prosecutors said, where Gold gave a speech about stopping the certification of the vote. They then moved to the Rotunda, prosecutors said, where Gold gave a second speech criticizing COVID-related lockdowns. The two left the Capitol building about 45 minutes after entering it, prosecutors added.
Strand told The Washington Post that he was at the Capitol to ensure Gold’s safety.
Strand is scheduled to return to court for sentencing on Jan. 12. Prosecutors say the felony he was convicted of carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, while the misdemeanor offenses carry a combined maximum of three years behind bars.
Gold — who has also moved to Naples, Florida from Beverly Hills — has pleaded guilty to entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds and was sentenced to 60 days in jail followed by 12 months of supervised release.
More than 800 people nationwide have been arrested in connection to the Jan. 6 insurrection — including two-dozen-plus defendants with Southern California ties — as the result of an unprecedented federal investigation. More than 275 defendants have pleaded guilty to charges related to the Capitol breach, with most admitting to misdemeanor counts that amount to trespassing in the Capitol or adjacent restricted grounds.