Portland woman pleads guilty to insurrection charge

By Jonathan Levinson (OPB)
Jan. 22, 2023 2 p.m.

Lilith Saer is one of nine Oregon and Southwest Washington residents to be charged for their participation in the Jan. 6 insurrection

A Portland woman and QAnon adherent who espoused anti-semitic views pleaded guilty Wednesday for her role in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. She is one of nine people with Oregon and Southwest Washington ties to be charged for their participation in the insurrection and only the third to plead guilty. None have gone to trial yet.

Lilith Saer, 30, frequently attended local far-right demonstrations in the region and was arrested in July for the charges of intent to impede or disrupt an official proceeding in a restricted building and with parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a capitol building. She pleaded guilty to parading in the Capitol. The second charge was dropped.

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QAnon is a conspiracy theory that, among other claims, posits that former President Donald Trump was secretly fighting a cabal of Satanic cannibals running a global child sex trafficking ring.

Oregon resident Lilith Saer is seen inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Saer pleaded guilty to parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a capitol building.

Oregon resident Lilith Saer is seen inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Saer pleaded guilty to parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a capitol building.

U.S. Department of Justice / OPB

Saer’s involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection was initially flagged for the FBI by two tipsters who recognized her in photographs from inside the Capitol. In an affidavit filed in federal court, an FBI special agent said he spoke with three people who knew Saer and saw her “on a routine weekly basis.” The agent showed each person photographs from Jan. 6 of someone believed to be Saer and each confirmed it was her. She is also seen in several videos and on security camera footage from inside the capitol.

“The defendant willfully and knowingly entered the U.S. Capitol Building and its Grounds knowing that she did not have permission to do so,” a statement of offense filed in federal court Friday says. “Defendant further admits that while inside the Capitol, defendant willfully and knowingly paraded, demonstrated, or picketed.”

After exiting the building, the statement says Saer remained on the East Plaza listening to Jacob Chansley speak. Chansley, known as the QAnon shaman, quickly rose to notoriety after he was photographed on Jan.6 shirtless, face painted, holding a spear and wearing a bison-horned fur headdress in the Senate chamber.

For years, Saer, who was arrested in Portland, has attended far-right rallies with Patriot Prayer and espoused antisemitic views online.

Eight other people with ties to the region have been charged for participating in the insurrection.

Haley Adams, right, showed up to counter demonstrate at a July vigil in front of Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Portland offices for migrants who have died in ICE custody.

Lilith Saer, left, showed up to counter demonstrate at a July vigil for migrants who have died in ICE custody in front of Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Portland offices.

Jonathan Levinson / OPB

Jonathanpeter Allen Klein, a self-identified Proud Boy, and his brother Matthew Leland Klein were arrested in March 2021 and face six charges, including conspiracy to defraud the government and destruction of government property, a felony. The Proud Boys are a far-right group that frequently engages in violence at protests. Though they are not from Oregon, the group’s leader, Enrique Tarrio, and four other members are currently on trial for seditious conspiracy for their role in the Jan. 6 insurrection.

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The Klein brothers also participated in violent protests in Portland and Salem in the months before Jan. 6. They are not currently in custody but their case is still open and their lawyers are negotiating with federal prosecutors over a possible plea agreement.

Reed Knox Christensen was arrested in Portland in April 2021 and is facing nine charges including assaulting, resisting or impeding officers and acts of physical violence in the Capitol. In court filings, federal prosecutors said Christensen pushed and hit police officers, tried to breach metal barriers, and struck multiple U.S. Capitol Police officers. Up until a year before the insurrection, Christensen served in a leadership role on the Washington County Republican Party’s Central Committee. Christensen is released on bond pending a trial.

A man with a camouflaged hat embroidered with the letters "MAGA" speaks into a landline telephone.

The FBI arrested Richard Lee Harris in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Harris is one of nine people with Oregon and Southwest Washington ties to be arrested.

via the U.S. Department of Justice

Richard Lee Harris was arrested in Florida in March 2021 and charged with five counts including assaulting, resisting or impeding officers, obstruction of an official proceeding, and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building. Before traveling to Washington D.C. for the Jan. 6 rally-turned-coup attempt, Harris was at a protest in Salem where he was filmed pushing a photojournalist. He pleaded guilty to harassment and was fined $100. During the insurrection, a man who appears to be Harris was filmed yelling at Capitol police officers that they are outnumbered and to stand down.

“There’s a fucking million of us out there, and we are listening to Trump, your boss,” he appeared to yell at the officers.

Harris’ trial is scheduled for June.

Jeffrey Grace, from Battle Ground, Washington, was arrested in February 2021 and faces four charges stemming from his participation in the Jan. 6 insurrection, all misdemeanors. His case is still open. Months after his arrest, Grace was armed at violent protests in Portland and El Paso, Texas. That prompted a judge to modify his conditions of release to prohibit him from owning firearms and other weapons.

“This modification is necessary in light of Grace’s escalating behavior and his willingness to bring his firearm and other weapons to engage in pre-planned conflicts,” acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Channing Phillips wrote in his petition to modify Grace’s terms of release.

Jeffrey Grace’s son, Jeremy Grace, from Molalla, Oregon, was arrested in May 2021. He was initially charged with four misdemeanors but pleaded guilty to “Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building” and the remaining charges were dropped. He was sentenced in August 2022 to 21 days in jail, 12 months of supervised release, 60 hours of community service and a $500 fine.

Jeremy Hubbard was arrested in Lincoln City in December 2021 and charged with four misdemeanors, including “Parading, Demonstrating, or Picketing in a Capitol Building.” He pleaded guilty to that charge in November 2022 and the three others were dropped. The parading charge carries a maximum six months in prison but Hubbard hasn’t been sentenced yet.

Marc Anthony Bru was arrested in March 2021 in Vancouver. He was indicted in May on seven counts including obstruction of congress and obstruction of law enforcement. According to court filings, to identify Bru, the FBI relied in part on the popular anti-fascist Twitter account PNW Resistance which investigates and identifies members of far-right groups. In photos included in the probable cause affidavit, Bru is seen pointing a handgun at the camera and flashing the “OK” sign — thumb and forefinger making a circle — a hand sign popular among white nationalists and far-right groups.

A January 2020 video posted online shows a shirtless Bru being initiated into the Proud Boys. Bru, again holding up the “OK” sign, says he is “a proud western chauvinist” and refuses “to apologize for creating the modern world.” A number of people then punch him while he struggles to recite the names of five breakfast cereals. Bru has also been identified in photos and videos from multiple violent Proud Boys rallies in Portland.

He is released on bond and his trial is scheduled for April 17, 2023.

Saer is scheduled to be sentenced on April 4. She faces a maximum six months in prison, five years probation and a $5,000 fine.

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