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East Helena man sentenced for U.S. Capitol riot

Joshua Hughes on floor of the Senate
Posted at 4:16 PM, Nov 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-22 18:29:59-05

EAST HELENA — Joshua Hughes East Helena, 39 years old, will serve jail time for his admitted actions during the January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol. Hughes and his brother Jerod Hughes were some of the first rioters to enter the Capitol that day.

On Tuesday, November 22, 2022, in Washington D.C., Federal District Court Judge Timothy Kelly sentenced Joshua to 38 months in prison. He will also have to pay $2,000 in restitution.

The Hughes brothers pleaded guilty to obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting on August 25. Jerod had been scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday as well, but that sentencing has been pushed to January 6th, 2023.

The Hughes brothers were in the nation’s capital to attend a rally objecting to the certification of election results.

Joshua told law enforcement while in detention that he marched on the Capitol because Trump told the crowd to march there. He also said he was “keeping an eye on his brother” and “just bearing witness”

Joshua and Jerod Hughes climb scaffolding

As the rioters made their way closer to the Capitol, the Hughes brothers climbed scaffolding on the northwest side of the building. They made their way with the advancing crowd that was pushing against, and broke through police barricades.

Joshua Calvin Hughes and Jerod Wade Hughes of Montana charged in connection with US Capitol riot
Joshua Calvin Hughes and Jerod Wade Hughes of Montana charged in connection with US Capitol riot

Hughes watched as other rioters broke a window near the Senate Wing Door 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 breach the Capitol that day.

Video of when rioters first entered the U.S. Capitol on Jan.6

The brothers were at the front of the crowd as it moved through the Capitol. They quickly encountered Officer Eugene Goodman who led rioters away from the Senate Chambers, which was still being evacuated at the time.

Around a half hour later at 2:44 p.m., Hughes entered the Senate Gallery. He left shortly after entering and went to the Senate Chamber floor with his brother. He walked among the senators’ desks for approximately two minutes.

Joshua and his brother left the building at approximately 2:51 p.m.

Joshua Calvin Hughes and Jerod Wade Hughes of Montana charged in connection with US Capitol riot
Joshua Calvin Hughes and Jerod Wade Hughes of Montana charged in connection with US Capitol riot

In testimony, Hughes said upon leaving 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 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 since there was no warrant for their arrest at the time.

The brothers reported back to the law enforcement center in Helena on January 29. The two voluntarily provided their cell phones to the FBI, with consent to search the phones. Prosecutors allege Hughes gave authorities a Cricket phone and destroyed the phone that he had taken to the U.S. Capitol. Hughes told authorities he threw out that phone because it had “gone bad.”

Joshua is the third known Montanan to be sentenced for alleged actions taken at the U.S. Capitol during the riot.