Shawnee man waives jury trial in Jan. 6 case

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Jonathan Copeland, the Shawnee Township man charged for his alleged involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021 “Stop the Steal” rally at the U.S. Capitol, waived his right to a jury trial and will have his criminal case heard next week by a U.S. District Court judge.

Copeland on March 27 submitted a motion in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in which he acknowledged his constitutional right to a jury trial. The motion included a request that the criminal charges against him instead be resolved through a trial to the court.

The bench trial is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Monday before Judge Dabney Friedrich.

Copeland faces nine counts related to the events of Jan. 6, 2021, when thousands of protesters gathered outside the capitol building in Washington, D.C. on the day when Congress was to formally certify the results of the 2020 presidential election which saw Joe Biden defeat incumbent Donald Trump. The crowd had gathered that day at the urging of Trump, who told supporters that the election was beset by fraud and the results should not be certified.

Prosecutors said Copeland was among the protesters who illegally entered the Capitol building to protest the election results that day. Federal officials arrested Copeland in August 2022 for allegedly shoving a large framed metal “Trump” sign into officers during the breach of the U.S. Capitol.

Criminal charges were first brought against Copeland in August 2022, and in June of last year a grand jury issued a new indictment that contained a total of nine charges against the Allen County man.

Those include two counts of civil disorder, assaulting resisting or impeding officers using a deadly weapon, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly conduct in a capitol building, act of physical violence in the Capitol grounds or buildings and parading, and demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.

In January, Copeland and his attorney parted ways, citing irreconcilable differences, just a month before a jury trial had been scheduled. A new trial date for Copeland was subsequently set for April 30 prior to his waiver of a jury trial.

As of January, three years after the attack on the U.S. Capitol, more than 700 individuals have pleaded guilty to federal charges related to the uprising, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.