HELENA — It’s been one year since a mob of protesters stormed the grounds of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, with the intent to stop the certification of the 2020 presidential election results.
The rioters clashed with an unprepared police presence. They breached police barricades and drove officers on scene to retreat for safety. The Senate Floor, House Chamber and U.S. Capitol staff were evacuated. The first rioters to enter the building did so through broken windows and doors that were forced open. As the hours progressed, rioters would have an easy entrance into the building through opened doors. Around $1.5 million of damage was done to the U.S. Capitol.
138 officers, 73 from the Capitol Police and 65 from the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, were injured that day. Four rioters died: one was shot by Capitol Police, two died from heart failure, and one died from a drug overdose.
So far, 738 people have been charged for alleged actions taken during the riot at the U.S. Capitol. Of those charged, six are from Montana.
Trial progress in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has been slow for many defendants due to the large amount of evidence collected by federal law enforcement. With the sheer volume of videos and pictures recorded, the federal government needed to create a database in order to efficiently provide discovery to defendants’ counsel. The database was completed at the end of 2021 and cases are anticipated to progress more quickly now that it is finished.
Joshua and Jerod Hughes
East Helena brothers Joshua and Jerod Hughes are some of the most high-profile individuals who have been arrested so far in connection with the riot. The two men are accused of being some of the first to enter the U.S. Capitol Building through a window that had been broken by another rioter.
They can also be seen in photographs confronting Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman. Goodman led rioters away from the U.S. Senate Chamber while it was still being evacuated.
Federal prosecutors also say the Hughes brothers can be seen on the floor of the senate.
The brothers face eight charges which include obstruction of an official proceeding, obstruct/impede/interfere with law enforcement during a civil disorder, and entering the Capitol Building with the Intent to disrupt official business.
Both men have entered pleas of not guilty. A status conference for Joshua and Jerod Hughes is scheduled for Jan. 7 at 1 p.m. Eastern. The state had indicated they would be willing to offer a plea deal to the defendants.
Isaac Steve Sturgeon, of Dillon, has been indicted on more than a half dozen charges, including obstruction of justice; assaulting, resisting or impeding officers; engaging in physical violence in a restricted building and an act of physical violence in the Capitol grounds. He has entered a plea of not guilty for the alleged offenses.
Prosecutors allege in court documents that Sturgeon was seen on an officer's body-worn camera on January 6 and was part of a group who picked up a metal barricade and shoved it into a group of D.C. Metropolitan Police officers.
Sturgeon’s lawyers are seeking to have many of his charges dropped, with the exception of the charges of assaulting, resisting or impeding officers; engaging in physical violence in a restricted building and an act of physical violence in the Capitol grounds.
Boyd Allen Camper, formerly from the Missoula area, is the first known Montanan to have pleaded guilty for actions taken on Jan. 6.
Camper signed a plea agreement in August admitting to parading, demonstrating, or picketing in Capitol buildings. The crime is a class B misdemeanor.
He has been sentenced to 60 days in prison, 60 hours of community service and pay $500 in restitution.
Camper was in the Capitol on Jan. 6 for around 15-30 minutes before he left. Shortly after leaving, he encountered reporters with CBS News. In the recording, Camper can be heard saying “I was on the front line.” He further stated, “We’re going to take this damn place. If you haven’t heard it’s called the insurrection act and we the people are ready.”
Since Jan. 6, Camper says he has become a pariah in Montana with friends, business associates and companies cutting ties with him. He has relocated to another state. Camper had worked as a real estate agent in the Missoula area.
Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in her sentencing said the actions of Camper that day, and the insurrection as a whole, were an “inexcusable attack on our democracy.”
Camper was ordered to report sometime after Jan. 3 2022 to begin his jail sentence.
Dillon business owner Hank Muntzer has pleaded not guilty to the five charges brought against him by federal prosecutors.
The charges against Muntzer include: Obstruction of an Official Proceeding; Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building; Disorderly and Disruptive Conduct in a Restricted Building or Grounds; Disorderly Conduct in a Capitol Building; and Parading, Demonstrating, or Picketing in a Capitol Building.
Muntzer has indicated he intends to take his case to trial and told MTN last year he believes videos he recorded will show that he did nothing wrong.
A status conference is set for Jan. 11 at 12:00 PM Eastern before Judge Amit P. Mehta.
Andrew Cavanaugh from Bozeman has been charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol Grounds. He has entered a plea of not guilty.
Cavanaugh was identified in a video posted to the social media app Parler on Jan. 6. He was reportedly seen in a camouflage baseball cap with the logo for "Tactical Citizen," a Belgrade-based business founded and owned by Cavanaugh.
His next status conference is set for Jan. 28 at 10:00 AM Eastern.