Dr. Simone Gold, a Beverly Hills woman known for spreading debunked claims about Covid-19 was sentenced on Thursday to 60 days in prison for illegally entering and remaining in the US Capitol during the January 6 insurrection.
Gold, founder of the group America’s Frontline Doctors, was also ordered to pay a $9,500 fine – the largest fine imposed to date among the almost 200 rioters who have been sentenced.
“Your organization is leaving people with the misimpression that this is a political prosecution or that it’s about free speech,” district Judge Christopher Cooper said as he imposed the sentence, slamming America’s Frontline Doctors fundraising efforts that call January 6 “political persecution.”
Cooper called the fundraising efforts, which have raised more than $400,000, “unseemly” and a “disservice to the true victims that day.”
“It ain’t about free speech,” Cooper added. “January 6 was about a lot of things, but it wasn’t about free speech or Covid vaccinations… the only reason you are here is where and when and how you chose to express your views.”
Gold spoke at the January 5 Stop the Steal rally the day before the riot, telling the crowd that “if you don’t want to take an experimental biological agent deceptively named a vaccine, you must not allow yourself to be coerced!”
The next day, according to prosecutors, she and her co-defendant John Strand joined a group of rioters who pushed past a group of officers attempting to stop the mob from breaching the Capitol. Once inside, Gold spoke through a megaphone to a crowd gathered in Statuary Hall.
Strand has pleaded not guilty.
In 2020, Gold made headlines after appearing in a viral video – which then-President Donald Trump retweeted – that was later removed from numerous social media sites for Covid misinformation.
The video showed Gold and other members of America’s Frontline Doctors, which is known for pushing lies about coronavirus vaccines, standing on the steps of the Supreme Court, claiming that masks aren’t necessary to prevent the spread of coronavirus, and promoting hydroxychloroquine as a cure.
Gold has since been blocked by social media platforms like Facebook.
America’s Frontline Doctors told CNN last year that Gold “did not participate in any incident that involved violence or vandalism and has categorically rebuked any such activity” by others and claimed the organization has recommended other vaccines to patients but that “more study and greater transparency are needed with respect to COVID-19 vaccines.”
A number of alleged rioters have pushed anti-Covid vaccine theories or have refused to be vaccinated. A husband and wife who carried anti-vaccine protest signs into the Capitol were sentenced last August to two years of probation.
Many of the defendants held in the DC jail while they await trial have complained about lack of access to jail facilities because they refuse to be vaccinated, and some judges have hesitated to have defendants who aren’t vaccinated in their courtrooms.