Politics

West Virginia GOP lawmaker charged with storming US Capitol has resigned

West Virginia House of Delegates member Derrick Evans, left, is given the oath of office Dec. 14, 2020, in the House chamber at the state Capitol in Charleston, W.Va. Evans recorded video of himself and fellow supporters of President Donald Trump storming the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 prompting calls for his resignation and thousands of signatures on an online petition advocating his removal. (Perry Bennett/West Virginia Legislature via AP)

(CNN) — Derrick Evans, the West Virginia state lawmaker accused among the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, resigned Saturday.

“I hereby resign as a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, effective immediately,” he wrote in a brief letter addressed to West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice.

Evans has been charged with one count of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol Grounds. A federal magistrate judge in West Virginia released him on his personal recognizance after he appeared in court Friday afternoon, according to court records.

Evans, a supporter of Trump, recorded a Facebook Live video in which he can be heard shouting, “We’re in! We’re in, baby!” while moving among a crowd of rioters as he walked through a doorway of the Capitol.

He has denied taking part in the destruction and violence and has since deleted the clip, but not before it was shared on social media and aired by CNN affiliate WCHS. In another video posted to his Facebook page Wednesday morning, Evans laughs as he predicts a riot.

Evans said later Wednesday that he had filmed the event only as an “independent member of the media to film history,” though it does not appear he has any experience working as one.

His lawyer, John Bryan, previously told CNN in a statement Thursday that his client “had no choice but to enter” the Capitol due to the size of the crowd he was in, and that “it wasn’t apparent to Mr. Evans that he wasn’t allowed to follow the crowd into this public area of the Capitol, inside which members of the public were already located.”

The chair of the West Virginia GOP on Saturday said Evans “made the right decision” to resign.

“The actions of Derrick Evan[s] were unwise and unbecoming of an elected official,” Chairwoman Melody Potter said in a statement.

Speaking during a Friday briefing, Justice said of Evans’ involvement, “You know me, I don’t sugarcoat things and I don’t try to give you a political answer. I think it’s terrible.”

“I think it’s a scar on West Virginia,” the Republican governor said. “He can come up with any excuse in the world, but being there and rushing and entering the Capitol of the United States of America. I mean, how in the world can we possibly, possibly think that’s anything but bad stuff?”

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