Chicago area man who joined mom, aunt at Jan. 6 Capitol riot gets probation

Prosecutors say this image depicts Nicholas Von Keudell in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

U.S. District Court records

A Chicago area man who briefly entered the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021 attack and then allegedly watched the rest unfold from a lawn chair near a courtyard was sentenced Tuesday to two years of probation.

Nicholas Von Keudell, 27, pleaded guilty in December to disorderly and disruptive conduct in a Capitol building or grounds and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building, both misdemeanors.

He admitted that he’d traveled to Washington, D.C., to attend then-President Donald Trump’s rally, along with his mother Trudy Castle and aunt Kimberly DiFrancesco on Jan. 6, 2021. After attending the president’s rally, they made their way to the Capitol.

Von Keudell entered through the Senate Wing Door at 2:24 p.m. and left 11 minutes later. Prosecutors say rioters had breached the building just 10 minutes before Von Keudell entered. They say he wandered around the building and seemed to be recording the riot as it unfolded.

After he left the building, prosecutors say he “pulled up a lawn chair to watch the violence further unfold for nearly an hour.”

Von Keudell’s defense attorney said he “is the first to admit that going into the Capitol building was [an] exercise of poor judgment.” He said Von Keudell wound up separated from his mother and aunt, and “but for the need to find his relatives he would likely have departed the Capitol grounds much sooner than he did.”

The defense attorney wrote in a court memo that Von Keudell was born in Downers Grove and later lived in Elmhurst and Coal City before moving with his family to Chicago.

U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper also ordered Von Keudell to perform 100 hours of community service.

Castle and DiFrancesco were each sentenced in November 2022 to 30 months of probation.

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