Nearman arraigned for role in Oregon Capitol protest


State Rep. Mike Nearman was seen opening the Oregon Capitol doors to right-wing protesters on Dec. 21, 2020

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — State Rep. Mike Nearman, the Oregon lawmaker who was caught on surveillance video opening the Oregon Capitol doors to right-wing protesters in December of last year, did not show for his arraignment on charges related to the incident on Tuesday.

Rep. Nearman (R-Independence) was charged with official misconduct and criminal trespass following the Oregon State Police’s investigation into his role in a riot on Dec. 21, 2020. Jason Short, Nearman’s lawyer, did not enter a plea on his behalf.

The next hearing was scheduled for June 29 in which Nearman must appear in person or remotely, according to court documents. Moreover, Nearman will not be allowed to leave the state without the court’s permission.

Both supporters of Nearman and those seeking to have him removed from office were outside of the Courthouse Tuesday.

“I think his efforts that way that is in question in regard to the arraignment is one that applies to making an effort to open the doors to the people who wanted to gain access to those meetings that day,” said Tom Madison who supports Nearman.

“The way that Mike Nearman can make this up to the Oregon people is to resign,” said Kelie McWilliams, a counter-protester. “And if he won’t resign he needs to be expelled. And if isn’t expelled then we will recall him.”

KOIN 6 reached out to the Oregon Government Ethics Commission who told us it was “not investigating Rep. Mike Nearman at this time.”

Nearman was charged with first-degree official misconduct and second-degree criminal trespass, according to court records filed by the Marion County district attorney’s office in late April. Both charges are misdemeanors.

Oregon Capitol surveillance video from the Dec. 21 protest showed how Nearman left the building during a special legislative session to address COVID-19-related challenges, allowing right-wing protesters inside the building. Four people were arrested that day.

Once inside the building, the protesters clashed with Oregon State Police troopers, the video shows. Video surveillance of outside the building showed Nearman then walked around the Oregon Capitol building before entering it again.

Nearman was stripped of his committee assignments by House Speaker Tina Kotek, who also asked him to resign, in January amid the investigation.

Last week, Nearman told a conservative radio talk show host that he has a really bad case of COVID and is “on the mend a little bit.” His current condition is unclear.

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