53-year-old Atlanta native Cleveland Meredith Jr. has now formally pleaded guilty to a federal criminal charge stemming from a threat that he made to shoot House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in the head on live television. As summarized by The Washington Post, Meredith traveled to D.C. back in January “with a pistol, a rifle and 2,500 rounds of ammunition in his truck,” although a delay in his arrival in the city meant that he did not actually participate in the breach of the Capitol building. Thanks to car trouble that sparked that travel delay, his role was more that of an ideological supporter — in addition to someone who supported the threat of violence.
From a hotel in D.C. on January 7 (the day after the riot), Meredith texted a relative that he was “Thinking about heading over to Pelosi… speech and putting a bullet in her noggin on Live TV.” That relative got in touch with Meredith’s mother, who in turn notified law enforcement, which promptly arrived on the scene and discovered those weapons. Specifically, Meredith has now pleaded guilty to a single charge of interstate communication of threats, which generally comes with a sentence of up to 5 years in prison, although Meredith is set to receive less prison time because of his plea deal. He has been in custody ever since his arrest on January 7 of this year, however. Meredith “was investigated as part of the federal investigation into the attack” on the Capitol by Trump supporters, as noted by The Washington Post.
Hundreds and hundreds of Trump supporters have been criminally charged by federal authorities for their part in the January assault on the Capitol, and although dozens have pleaded guilty, the majority of cases have not as of this time culminated in plea deals, meaning that trials remain on the horizon. Threats against prominent figures like Pelosi were a prominent feature of what rioting Trump supporters perpetrated at the Capitol in January. Some of those present at the time even chanted “Hang Mike Pence!” in reference to his perceived lack of sufficient loyalty to Trump amid the then-president’s desperate push to stay in power.