Defendant Rifled Through Senator’s Desk
WASHINGTON – A Texas man pleaded guilty today to a felony charge for his actions during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. His actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the 2020 presidential election.
Joshua Johnson, 31, of Sherman Texas, formerly of Spokane, Washington, pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia to obstruction, a felony. U.S. District Court Judge Christopher R. Cooper scheduled a sentencing hearing for July 6, 2023.
According to court documents, on Jan. 6, 2021, Johnson marched to the Capitol Building with other protestors. As he approached, police and rioters were spraying each other with what the defendant believed to be mace. He entered the Capitol at approximately 2:40 p.m. through the Rotunda doors. From there, he climbed a set of stairs and made his way to the foyer outside the Senate Gallery. There, at about 2:43 p.m., he put on a gas mask. He removed the mask approximately two minutes later as he made his way toward the Senate Floor, which he reached by about 2:49 p.m. As he approached the Senate Chamber, defendant’s goal was to “be heard” and influence Vice President Pence “to do the right thing.” He wanted to “stop the steal,” meaning, stop the certification of the Electoral College vote.
Once in the Senate chamber, Johnson rifled through documents on a senator’s desk and recorded video of himself and others using the senator’s cell phone. By about 3:02 p.m., Johnson left the Senate Chamber. He exited the Capitol through the north doors at about 3:07 p.m. and, just after leaving the building, raised his hands in the air.
Johnson was arrested on March 23, 2022, in Plano, Texas. He faces a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison, as well as potential financial penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas.
The case is being investigated by the FBI Seattle Field Office-Spokane Resident Agency and the FBI Washington Field Office. Valuable assistance was provided by the Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Capitol Police.
In the 26 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 999 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 320 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing.
Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.
originally published at HUMAN RIGHTS - USA DAILY NEWS 24