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'Shocked and saddened': Family, friends of Capitol riot suspect surprised over accusations

Attorneys for Jeffrey Sabol sent numerous character letters to a federal judge in an effort to get their client released from custody pending trial.

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — About 30 letters from friends and family of Jeffrey Sabol, 51, paint him as a “peaceful and loving” man and not someone who would attack a Capitol police officer. 

Sabol, from Jefferson County in Colorado, has been indicted for his alleged role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot in Washington D.C. Prosecutors have accused Sabol of pulling a Capitol police officer down stairs, allowing the mob to attack the officer. 

>> The Jan. 22 video above is what prosecutors say about Jeff Sabol's role at the Capitol riot. 

“... I believe at this point, Jeff lost his bearing and allowed himself to be led by others that steered him down a negative path,” Sabol’s younger brother wrote in a letter submitted to federal court. “He is a good man with a kind heart that got swept up in the emotions of that day.”

Sabol’s defense attorneys filed a court document on Tuesday that requested the release of their client from custody pending his trial. Included in the request are the letters written by Sabol’s younger brother, parents and numerous friends. 

His attorneys also claim there is a video of the Capitol riot that shows Sabol urging the mob not to attack officers.  

“A voice can be heard urging others to not attack officers. Undersigned counsel also has spoken to a witness who has known Mr. Sabol for over 10 years and who says the voice in the video is that of Mr. Sabol,” his attorney Jon Norris wrote. 

“Although the alleged conduct is serious, it appears to have arisen in the context of a hysterical throng,” Norris also said in the court document. 

Numerous other letters from Sabol’s friends express surprise and shock at the news of his arrest. 

“I am mad. I am mad at Jeff, but I’m even madder at the politicians and leaders who for weeks stoked the election lie leading up to January 6th ... ” one friend wrote. “They made a good man like Jeff believe in and act on their lies.” 

“I believe Jeff to be a peaceful man and to hear what he is accused of was a complete shock,” a friend of Sabol’s girlfriend wrote. 

Court documents indicate Sabol remains locked up in a Virginia jail pending his federal case. His attorney has requested Sabol to return to Colorado, adding a GPS monitor would be an option. 

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