EAST HELENA — Joshua Hughes, 39, of East Helena, has been sentenced to prison for his admitted actions during the January 6, 2021 riots at the US Capitol. Hughes and his brother Jerod Hughes were some of the first rioters to enter the US Capitol that day.
On Tuesday, Federal District Court Judge Timothy Kelly sentenced Joshua Hughes to three years and two months in prison in Washington DC. He also has to pay $2,000 in damages.
The Hughes brothers pleaded guilty August 25 to obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting. Jerod Hughes was also scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday, but that sentencing has been postponed to January 6, 2023.
The Hughes brothers were in the nation’s capital to attend former President Trump’s rally protesting the confirmation of the election results. Joshua Hughes told law enforcement while in custody that he marched on the US Capitol because Trump asked the crowd to march there. He also said he was “keeping an eye on his brother” and was “just giving testimony.”
As the rioters approached the Capitol Building, the Hughes brothers climbed onto scaffolding on the northwest side of the building. They made their way with the advancing crowd and broke through police barricades.
Hughes watched as other rioters smashed a window near the door of the Senate Wing on the west side of the building and then entered through that broken window at 2:13 p.m. Prosecutors say he was the ninth rioter to enter the Capitol that day.
Video of rioters entering the US Capitol for the first time on January 6th
The brothers led the crowd as it moved through the Capitol. They quickly met Officer Eugene Goodman, who was leading rioters away from the Senate chambers, which were still being evacuated at the time.
About half an hour later at 2:44 p.m., Hughes entered the Senate gallery. Shortly after entering, he left the room and went with his brother to the floor of the Senate Chamber. He walked between the senators’ desks for about two minutes. Joshua Hughes and his brother left the building at around 2:51 p.m
In testimony, Hughes said that as he exited the building, he and Jerod made their way to their vehicle and began their drive back to Montana.
On January 11, 2021, the Hughes brothers voluntarily turned themselves in to the Helena police after seeing news reports that the FBI was trying to identify them. The brothers declined to speak to the FBI and were released as there was no warrant for their arrest at the time.
The brothers reported to the Helena Law Enforcement Center on January 29. The two volunteered their cellphones to the FBI with consent to search the phones. Prosecutors allege that Hughes gave authorities a cricket phone and destroyed the phone he took into the US Capitol. Hughes told authorities he threw away that phone because it had “gone bad”.
Joshua Hughes is the third known Montanan to be convicted of alleged actions in the US Capitol during the riots.