My Chat with Kim Sorgente, Jailed Huntington Beach Insurrectionist.

Did I mention? I don’t remember. But a couple months ago I ran into Kim Sorgente, outside of a Board of Supervisors meeting, and we talked for a while.

This is after six or seven years of observing him from afar, critiquing and ridiculing him on this blog, nicknaming him “The Pudgy Pugilist,” identifying him for SAPD detectives when he helped beat the shit out of some Santa Ana locals. I’d seen the videos he’d proudly posted of himself attacking BLM people unprovoked, and the videos of the endless rants he spews through his trusty white megaphone which doubles as a bludgeon. I’d watched videos of him getting in the face of our friend Naui (angry short guys love to pick fights with other short guys when they can find them, like small dogs.)

I’d noticed he likes to think of himself as a contrarian intellectual who makes great arguments bristling with sarcasm. I’d noticed too that he’s motivated mainly by two things – deep insecurity as a white guy and deep insecurity as a male. I’d noticed nothing enrages him so much as a powerful liberal woman (like Katrina Foley or Gina Clayton-Tarvin.) And we’d all noticed that he is such a grating individual that even his fellow right-wing thugs start to hate him – the Proud Boys eventually put a fatwa on him.

But I’d heard that he was arrested in late March for being part of the Jan. 6 insurrection in DC, so I really wasn’t expecting to see him when I went to an August Board of Supervisors meeting. I’d gone that time because the Delta variant was just then raging because of too many Americans’ refusal to get vaccinated, I’d just re-written the old 70’s country-pop hit “Delta Dawn” for the occasion, and since anti-vaxxers were still mobbing BoS meetings, it seemed like the best and bravest place to sing my new ditty:

Well, it was pure chaos out behind the Hall of Administration, as it has been during the time of Covid and probably still is – most of the women milling around were obvious anti-maskers and anti-vaxers. So I figured that, whatever point in the meeting THEY were going to be speaking was probably the appropriate time for me to also do my singing, so I asked them when. They pointed to a well-dressed man sitting and looking at his phone, like he was their leader: “Ask that guy in the suit and shades, he’ll know!”

And I totally didn’t recognize Kim until I heard his voice. He had lost a lot of weight, remembered to shave, and was wearing a real nice suit – he didn’t resemble any versions of Sorgente that I had ever seen. I thought of the term “groyper” – the recent movement to make white supremacy look nice and respectable – but maybe he was just spooked from his last arrest and trying not to look dangerous. As soon as I heard his voice I said, “Hey you’re Kim Sorgente aren’t you? I thought you were in jail for January 6!”

“Yeah I’m him. They let me go cuz I didn’t do anything wrong. Who are you?”

“I’m Vern Nelson from the Orange Juice Blog. I’ve written about you a few times.” I figured he would already know who I was, and maybe yell at me or hit me, or maybe laugh. But he disappeared for a few minutes. Obviously googling his name and mine. When I saw him again, he was all “Hey Vern, so you think I’m a TERRORIST?” “Well, you use violence to try to make political points, don’t you?” I don’t remember if he had an answer for that.

How did you get out of trouble for January 6, what did you do there, why did you go there? “President Trump said to come to Washington DC, so I went.” “Really, if he said jump off a cliff you’d do that too?” “Shut up, this was different. We were there because there were so many problems with the election. And I didn’t break any laws. The Capitol Police went crazy – they NEVER told us to disperse, they just started tear-gassing us. A woman got trampled to death and I almost managed to save her!” That last part turns out to be true.

What about what you did in Santa Ana Dec. 6? Everyone saw you bashing those guys over the head with your megaphone when they were just trying to get away from the crowd, and blinded by you guys’ mace. “That was SELF-DEFENSE, Vern! Those guys attacked US! One of them was wearing brass knuckles. They knocked down our tables, they attacked a woman, a MOTHER, Vern!” Those are all the things those Trumpies claimed since day one, and maybe they happened, but none of it is on the VIDEO THEY PUT UP THEMSELVES – all that video shows is the three local guys trying to get away, Kim Sorgente striding past them, turning around to trap them, bashing two of them in the head, and a buncha other Trumpies jumping on and beating them. I think the only reason Kim, Joe Vargas, and others are not in jail for that, is that the three victims were nice enough not to press charges, even though they were all injured. (Actually just found out Kim is awaiting an OC trial on that, prelim Jan. 26.)

Then, hilariously, Kim or someone got it in their head that my wife Donna was actually the Twitter character “InMiniVanHell” which is REALLY ironic to anyone who follows social media around here. The word spread around the crowd like wildfire and the Trumpy women surrounded Donna like a mob of menacing ducks. “Are YOU InMiniVanHell?” My incredulous wife responded, “No, but I’m in OC Supervisors Hell.” Even funnier, she later said to me, “That Kim guy seems like a nice man.”

And the latest…

So I figured that whatever Kim did in DC, he got away with it. But today I find out, apparently NOT. He’s been arrested AGAIN, by the FBI, based on police bodycam footage. It looks like he wasn’t as innocent on Jan 6 as he had told me. He is charged with obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder, entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and disorderly and disruptive conduct, and he COULD get up to 15 years this time.

From this morning’s Register:

In a complaint unsealed Tuesday, an FBI agent who tracked down Sorgente said he was seen on security camera footage and on the body-worn cameras of Capitol police attempting with other rioters to get inside the building as Congress and then-Vice President Mike Pence certified the election as president of Joe Biden.

“How dare you? How dare you, traitors?” a man identified as Sorgente screamed through a megaphone after he stumbled to the ground amid a mob of rioters scuffling with Capitol police over a metal barricade. “How dare you traitors?”…

…About a half hour later, he was seen approaching the inauguration platform with hundreds of other people, continuing to move toward the Capitol Building as a voice over a loudspeaker instructed them that they were entering a restricted area.

At 2:41 p.m., Sorgente had made his way to the tunnel where U.S. presidents walk out to be inaugurated, according to stills of video footage included in the complaint. Dozens of people were already jammed inside the tunnel fighting with police.

Sorgente went inside for one minute, then left. But he returned about 10 minutes later as others were crushing officers blocking them using a human-wave tactic. He joined the rioters in the tunnel in rocking back-and-forth trying to dislodge the officers in front of them packing the hallway, according to the complaint.

He was at the tunnel for about two hours helping rioters fight with police, officials allege. At one point, they allege, Sorgente picked up a police riot shield and used it to push a man in front of him further into the police line.

Well, there you have it.  After I finished my Delta John song that day, well, first of all, all the Anti-Vaxxer ladies loved it and clapped which surprised me, and Sorgente was sitting under a tree and shook his head as I walked by.  For some reason, I don’t know why, I gave him a fist-bump, and he laughed and said, “You gotta be shitting me, Vern,” but gave a fist back anyway.  Now I know he was bullshitting me about being so innocent at the Insurrection, but color me unsurprised.

Vern out.

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.