Buford’s Verden Nalley apologized in a brief statement Thursday before his sentencing.

ATLANTA — A Georgia man was sentenced Thursday to two years probation and 60 hours of community service for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021 insurgent riots at the U.S. Capitol.

Verden Nalley, of Buford, told a federal judge that “I made a huge mistake that day” and apologized in a brief statement.

“I’m sorry for my family, the court, and you and the justice system,” he said. “I made the mistake of just trying to move on.”

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The judge declined to grant Nalley a jail sentence, believing his role in the riots – in which the government produced no evidence he assaulted officers or damaging property – was “less egregious” than others cases she had heard.

She said Nalley appears to be on a “different path,” describing his Jan. 6 entry into the Capitol as “an unusual event on his otherwise law-abiding record.”

He was also ordered to pay the architect of the Capitol $500 in compensation for the general damage done that day in lieu of a fine – which the judge said he could not pay.

The judge also noted that Nalley spent three nights in the Gwinnett County Jail when he was first arrested. The government had demanded a 14-day prison sentence.

Nalley pleaded guilty in December to the misdemeanor of entering and staying in a restricted building or premises.

He is one of nine Georgians who have pleaded guilty to the January 6 cases and one of 23 people with ties to Georgia who have been arrested.

Nalley is also the third to be convicted in the cases, with Cleveland Meredith Jr. receiving two years in prison and Devlyn Thompson receiving nearly four years in prison.

The judge asked Nalley’s attorney during Thursday’s hearing if he had learned his lesson, and the attorney replied: “Oh my God, in many ways.”

The government had requested a slightly harsher sentence, citing posts he had held after January 6 that alluded to a return to the Capitol with guns in two weeks. The judge said such posts were highly offensive and showed extremely poor judgment, but noted that he had not acted on those threats.

Over time, the judge said, he showed significant regret, accepted responsibility for his actions, and showed cooperation in the court proceedings.

On one occasion, the judge asked if he would testify against W. McCall Calhoun, a South Georgia attorney who will appear in court in his own case on January 6th. Nalley’s attorney called Calhoun a friend of Nalley and an influence on his decision to travel to Washington and eventually participate in the storming of the Capitol.

However, prosecutors said they “did not engage in those discussions” at the time.