A man convicted of his role in the chaotic riots which besieged the US Capitol is planning to travel to Scotland later this year, The Scotsman has learned.
Matthew Buckler, who repeatedly breached the seat of the US Congress during the violent attacks in January 2021, is still subject to a US court-mandated probation order for his crimes, but is set to visit at least three Scottish cities later this year, according to legal documents.
Buckler was convicted last year for his part in the riots, which delayed the certification of the 2020 US presidential election won by President Joe Biden, and sparked the biggest police investigation in US history.
Thousands of rioters descended on the seat of the US Congress, with many forcing their way into the building as authorities were overwhelmed amid frenzied scenes which played out live around the world. According to a bipartisan Senate report released in June last year, seven people lost their lives in connection with the January 6 insurrection, including three police officers, one of whom died at the scene.
Buckler was part of the mobs that made their way inside the Capitol building. He was among those rioters to enter the private offices of a Democratic senator, before he filmed himself chanting with a larger group.
Prosecutors in the US had argued Buckler should have been imprisoned for his involvement in the large-scale riots and subjected to a probation order lasting three years, warning he had been “less than completely candid” with authorities about the extent of his actions. But the judge in his case imposed a non-custodial sentence of two years’ probation.
Now court filings in connection with his case show Buckler is planning to visit Scotland later this summer. In a minute order signed by the judge, Trevor McFadden, the US District Court for the District of Columbia, was asked to consider a recommendation by the US probation office to allow Buckler to travel to Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling, as well as Liverpool.
The order, approved by Mr McFadden on May 12, states Buckler is expected to arrive in the UK on August 7, and spend nine days in the UK. It does not specify the purpose of his visit here.
Buckler, who was 18 at the time of the Capitol riots, travelled from his home in Maryland to attend the ‘Stop the Steal’ rally that had been organised in Washington DC by Mr Trump’s supporters.
According to prosecutors in the US, he and a friend then moved towards the Capitol and climbed up a wall to gain entry to its upper west terrace, before entering the building through a fire door that had been damaged.
According to a sentencing memorandum brought forward in his case, Buckler could be heard remarking “yeah … let’s get in” as he filmed his entry. He left the building after a few minutes, before re-entering it via a broken out window.
He went on to join a group of rioters who made their way into a private ‘hideaway’ office used by Democratic senator Jeff Merkley, before joining a larger group inside the Capitol’s crypt, where he took several selfie videos of himself celebrating the riot.
In one video cited by prosecutors, Bucker, wearing a Trump baseball cap, joined in with the crowd as they chanted. Another video, also believed to have been filmed in the crypt area, saw him state: “We in this b**ch, we in this b**ch.” After around ten minutes, he left the Capitol building.
Buckler later told FBI agents he was in Washington DC to attend a rally in support of Mr Trump, and that he was not aware the mobs would march to, and eventually enter, the Capitol. He said that he got “swept up in the crowd” and entered the building.
However, the memorandum, written by Matthew Graves, the US attorney for the District of Columbia, argued Buckler's statement was at least partially contradicted by the fact he climbed into the Capitol via a broken window. He also claimed he did not enter any offices, despite photographs of him inside Mr Merkley’s office.
Buckler pleaded guilty in May last year to parading, demonstrating or picketing in the Capitol. In the sentencing memorandum, Mr Graves stated that “but for his actions alongside so many others, the riot likely would have failed to breach the Capitol building and delay the election certification vote for hours”.
He added: “As Buckler joined the mob, he identified with those around him. He, with others, screamed, and shouted to, in then-President Trump’s words ‘Stop the Steal’. Buckler’s presence was part of the floodwaters that drowned the Capitol in insurrection and destruction.”
Mr Graves noted that while Buckler did not personally engage in violence or destroy property, the demands of general deterrence ought to weight in favour of incarceration, explaining: “The violence at the Capitol was intended by many of the rioters to interfere, and did interfere, with one of the most important democratic processes we have – the peaceful transfer of power to a newly-elected president.”
Buckler is among those named and featured on the Insurrection Index, a searchable online database of individuals involved in the storming of the Capitol building. The index was set up by Public Wise, a US-based voting rights group.
It is understood he is now living in Winchester, Virginia, where is enrolled at Shenandoah University, studying business. He is also listed on the university’s website as a member of its football team.