In June, Oregon state legislators made history when they voted 59-1 to expel Republican State Rep. Mike Nearman from the chamber. Nearman became the first sitting state representative expelled by the Oregon House in its history. Nearman represented the lone vote against Mike Nearman being expelled. The reason for Nearman’s expulsion was his involvement with letting armed protesters into the state Capitol on Dec. 21, 2020, by coordinating and opening a door for them. This led to a preview of what would transpire on Jan. 6 in the nation’s Capitol, with law enforcement being assaulted as violent mobs attempted to gain access to government buildings.

At first Republican legislators sat by quietly and tried to accept Nearman’s excuse that he was just coincidentally stepping out for a breath of fresh air when protesters gained access to the west entrance of the Capitol building. But after video emerged showing Nearman telling a group of people about an idea he had called “Operation Hall Pass,” where he would wait for a text from prospective protesters and then illegally let them into the building, even the Republican officials who had supported him had to vote for his expulsion. Oregon Public Radio has a new report on further information they have obtained from law authorities investigating Nearman, that includes texts and emails showing Nearman was a lot more involved than even the damning video shows.

First, here’s a reminder of the security video that led to the investigation into Nearman’s activities regarding that December day at Oregon’s capitol building.

As Oregon Public Radio reports, after Nearman denied involvement and called this a witch hunt and all of the other things conservative criminals do these days, an investigation was being conducted. After the video above was released to the press, Nearman continued to stick to his guns that this was all a terrible coincidence. In fact, it was a liberal conspiracy to grab power. On Jan. 12, for example, Nearman went on a local radio show hosted by a man named Lars Larson, where he—according to investigators—accused Oregon Speaker of the House Tina Kotek of using the video as a political weapon, saying that she should be the one resigning, not Nearman.

Then of course this video surfaced, purporting to be from Dec. 16, and showing a disgraced Nearman coaching a group of people on how to contact him in order to gain unlawful access to the Capitol building.

The investigation shows that after the session video-taped above took place, disgraced Nearman was emailing a man named Rob Taylor, who Oregon Public Radio believe may be a gun rights activist and conservative radio host out in Southern Oregon.

After Taylor sent an email asking Nearman if the public would be allowed into the state Capitol for the upcoming special session, Nearman responded: “Yes. Have you heard of the Oregon Hall Pass program? Citizens text what entrance they are at to a secret phone number and someone lets them in.”

When Taylor said that he hadn’t heard of the program, but was interested, Nearman replied: “Well, it’s just an idea I had.”

This was followed by Taylor telling Nearman he wouldn’t be attending the rally but maybe Nearman could help coordinate this action with “Joey Gibson, leader of the far-right group Patriot Prayer.” On the day of the Oregon Capitol breach, Nearman was fielding a “flurry of texts.” A woman named Terrie Stafford who has recently been elected to the Molalla River school board is one of the people that texted Nearman, but told authorities she didn’t know she wasn’t allowed into the Capitol and doesn’t know from whom or how she got Nearman’s number, telling Oregon Public Radio that “All I know is someone said ‘text this number’ and I texted it.”

Much of the interactions Nearman had with these “citizen groups” was done over encrypted text services and therefore we do not know exactly what was said or what intentions may or may not have been voiced, leading up to the attempted storming of Oregon’s Capitol building.

On July 27, Nearman pleaded guilty to a charge of first-degree official misconduct for his role in the Oregon state Capitol breach. Nearman told the court, during his plea that he did this because “It provided the appearance that I was helping citizens enter the Capitol, so that would make me appear favorable to certain citizen groups…and I don’t support what they did when they entered.” A man with no principles = a perfect MAGA representative.

Nearman’s punishment includes 18 months of bench probation—meaning he doesn’t have to report to the probation officer but does have to get permission from the court to do things like leave the state—and he is also banned from the Capitol grounds during those 18 months. Judge Cheryl Pellegrini also gave him 80 hours of community service plus just under $3,000 in fines and damages to pay off. The judge gave Nearman this lesson during the sentencing hearing: “Democracy is built on principle that when there’s disagreement, that starts the public discussion and debate. It doesn’t end it,” she said. “That’s the province of tyranny and anarchy. And we’re not that. We’re so much better than that.”

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

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