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Utah school board candidate sentenced for involvement in Jan. 6 riot

Willard “Jake” Peart received a sentence of three years probation Monday.

(U.S. Department of Justice via St. George News) Willard Jake Peart (shown below red arrow) inside U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021.

A Toquerville resident who is running for the Washington County School Board was sentenced Monday for his involvement in the U.S. Capitol riot.

Willard “Jake” Peart, 46, remains on the ballot after receiving a sentence of three years probation from a judge who called Peart’s actions minor in the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The Toquerville resident is running in District 5 of the school board, which covers most of Hurricane and the eastern part of Washington County. Peart faces Hurricane residents David Stirland, who is the incumbent, and Edyth Land in the primary election on June 28.

During the insurrection, Peart went to the Capitol bearing a flag in support of then-President Donald Trump, though he was not accused of any violence or property damage. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of parading, demonstrating or picketing at the Capitol earlier this year after being arrested by FBI agents in St. George in April 2021.

Court documents show that Peart came to the FBI with an attorney after the riot and before investigators started looking for him. He is a Washington County real estate agent and a father of five who served on the Toquerville Planning Commission from 2015 to 2019.

Prosecutors initially asked Peart to be sentenced to 30 days in jail because he was asking where senators were on Jan. 6 and was chanting Sen. Mitt Romney’s name. Peart later told an FBI agent that “it’s probably a good thing that I didn’t see him.”

Peart told the judge that he felt like he was doing exactly what Trump was asking his followers to do when he marched to the Capitol.

In addition to the three years of probation, Peart will serve 60 days of home detention, 240 hours of community service and pay $500 in restitution.

Peart is the eighth Utahn who was charged for their involvement in the Capitol riot and the third to plead guilty and be sentenced. He did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

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