MAGA Rioter Who Chased Officer Goodman Given 46 Months Prison

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A rioter among the first in the building during the Trump-incited assault of the Capitol in January 2021 was sentenced in federal court in D.C. on Friday, which was the second anniversary of the attack, to nearly four years in prison.

Jerod Wade Hughes, a Montana man identified by the Justice Department as 39 years old, was sentenced to 46 months in prison after pleading guilty to a single felony charge of obstruction of an official proceeding, which prosecutors have frequently used against riot participants. That list includes Richard Barnett, who became infamous after putting his feet on a desk in a Capitol office for Nancy Pelosi and is going on trial in coming days. His defense argued Barnett can’t be held liable for obstruction of an official proceeding because the proceeding in question — the joint session of Congress dealing with certifying the 2020 presidential election results — was already suspended when he entered the building, although his presence inside helped keep Congress from returning to its work.

As for Hughes, he and his also criminally charged brother were among the rioters who infamously chased Eugene Goodman, an officer with the U.S. Capitol Police who led a portion of the mob away from the Senate chamber as the chaos first spread inside the building itself. The chamber was still occupied, meaning he helped avert potentially dangerous confrontations between furious rioters and top officials. It was made abundantly clear that portions of the mob were prepared to enact lethal violence. Some chanted about hanging the then-vice president, with gallows erected outside. The Hughes brothers, who went inside the Capitol building through a broken window, seemingly attended the Trump rally in D.C. that helped spark the riot. Jerod later “screamed and made aggressive gestures towards the officers” after entering the building, according to the Justice Department press release, which adds that he and his brother later entered the Senate chamber.

Another rioter who also entered portions of the Senate chamber, Ronald Sandlin, ended up with a $20,000 fine, with prosecutors noting he was raising money from supporters in connection to claims of legal fees — although he didn’t have any, instead using the services of a court-appointed defense since his Capitol riot case began. After the earlier sentencing of Jerod’s brother Joshua, the brother’s attorney Palmer Hoovestal summarized that federal Judge Timothy Kelly “wanted to send a message of general deterrence to the people that if you interfere with the peaceful transfer of power to newly elected-leadership, then you do so at your peril.” Elsewhere, opening arguments in a third Capitol riot trial alleging seditious conspiracy, this time against individuals involved with the far-right extremist group the Proud Boys, are slated to begin Tuesday.