Federal prosecutors announced Wednesday that they have reached a plea deal with Josiah Colt, a 34-year-old rioter from Ohio who breached the U.S. Capitol and rappelled into the Senate chamber during the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection.
Colt pleaded guilty to felony obstruction of an official proceeding. His deal requires that he cooperate with the government on other investigations.
U.S. District Court Judge Thomas F. Hogan read Colt his rights and said federal guidelines call for a sentence ranging between 51 and 63 months. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Colt’s sentence will be announced at a later date.
In June, Paul Hodgkins, a rioter who stormed the Senate chamber with a Trump flag, also pleaded guilty to felony obstruction of an official proceeding.
Colt was among hundreds of rioters who overwhelmed police and stormed the Capitol to stop lawmakers from certifying Donald Trump’s election loss to Joe Biden.
In multiple social media posts, Colt bragged about breaching the Capitol and mistakenly claimed he had sat in a seat traditionally reserved for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). In reality, Pelosi’s reserved seat is located in the House chamber, not the Senate chamber that Colt and other pro-Trump rioters breached. Images of Colt roaming the evacuated Senate chamber were among the first and most widely shared photos of the Jan. 6 insurrection.
At one point, Colt stood atop the Senate dais and yelled, “Trump won that election!”
In another video captured during rioters’ march to the Capitol on Jan. 6, Colt agreed with a pro-Trump insurrectionist who said, “Freedom is paid for in blood.”
“If violence happens, it happens,” Colt said.
One day after the violent riot, as Colt’s image began to spread online, he released a statement apologizing for his involvement and claiming he had merely been “caught up in the moment.” Colt issued a video apology on Facebook shortly after that, as public calls for the rioters to face justice increased.
Thus far, hundreds of people have been arrested in connection with the anti-democratic insurrection meant to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Hundreds more are expected to face arrests. In June, 44-year-old Anna Morgan-Lloyd became the first rioter sentenced in connection with the attack.
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