Utah Jazz legend and NBA Hall of Famer John Stockton wrote a letter to a federal judge in support of a Utah woman who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge related to the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Janet Buhler, of Kaysville, was arrested in Salt Lake City this past July 30 after she was charged with five counts by federal prosecutors related to her and her stepson-in-law, retired Salt Lake City police officer Michael Lee Hardin, allegedly being in the Capitol that day.
She ultimately accepted a plea deal, agreeing on Jan. 30 to plead guilty to a single charge of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building, with the other charges then to be dismissed upon sentencing.
Stockton’s letter notes that Buhler is the wife of former Jazz team chiropractor Craig Buhler, and calls her “one of the kindest people I have ever known.”
He goes on to describe her as a good wife, a regular church-goer, a volunteer at homeless shelters, a prolific music and fashion design teacher who is quiet, non-confrontational, and reserved.
The NBA’s all-time leader in assists states that the purpose of his letter is to be “helpful in assessing the high-quality character of Janet Buhler,” who faces a sentence of up to six months in prison.
Stockton further asserts of Buhler, “I frankly can not imagine that Janet could knowingly break the law, nor be involved in anything destructive, ever, no matter the situation.”
Per a Fox 13 report of Buhler’s plea deal, the judge overseeing the case, Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, told prosecutors “I’m almost inclined not to accept” the guilty plea after Buhler attempted to portray herself as merely a tourist that day, while the charge she was accepting is meant for trespassers or rioters. After a brief recess, “Buhler returned and acknowledged she knew she wasn’t supposed to be in the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Kollar-Kotelly then accepted the plea.”
Buhler’s stepson-in-law, Hardin, is still facing multiple charges.
Stockton has gained notoriety in recent years for his apparent support of right-wing causes.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, he became involved with an anti-vaccine video project based in Utah, in which he railed against government-imposed COVID-19 restrictions and spread misinformation suggesting the coronavirus was “not a very dangerous one.”
He went on to express support for Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving and his anti-vaccine stance, while also taking aim at the pharmaceutical companies that developed the various COVID-19 vaccines, calling them “serial felons” and accusing them of convincing doctors to push dangerous vaccines on the basis of fraudulent research.
Stockton subsequently was banned from attending basketball games at Gonzaga University, his alma mater, having his season tickets suspended for refusing to comply with the school’s mask mandate in effect at the time.