HELENA – Two Montana brothers whom authorities said were among the first people to breach the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection have pleaded guilty to obstructing official proceedings under a plea deal with prosecutors.
Jerod and Joshua Hughes of East Helena climbed through a broken window and Jerod Hughes helped kick open a door to allow other rioters inside while Congress was certifying the 2020 Electoral College vote, the FBI said in charging documents.
The brothers later were near the front of a group that pursued a lone Capitol Police officer who was able to lead the mob away from the Senate floor, to an area where Jerod Hughes screamed at officers during a standoff in a corridor. The brothers later made their way into the Senate chamber before leaving the building.
They were arrested on Feb. 1, 2021 and released on their own recognizance about two months later. The brothers face a maximum of 20 years in prison. Eight other felony counts against the men are being dropped under the plea deals with prosecutors.
Those agreements call on Jerod Hughes, 37, to receive 51 to 63 months in prison and for Joshua Hughes, 38, to receive 41 to 51 months under federal sentencing guidelines.
They also agreed to pay $2,000 each in restitution toward $1.5 million in damages done to the Capitol during the insurrection, when supporters of then-President Donald Trump disrupted a joint session of Congress as lawmakers met to certify President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory.
Joshua Hughes’ attorney said he will seek a reduction in his client’s prison sentence to time already served.
The lawyer, Palmer Hoovestal, said the brothers had planned to visit monuments in Washington following their attendance at a rally held by Trump on the morning of the attack.
When Trump told the crowd to go to the Capitol, Joshua Hughes “just followed the crowd,” Hoovestal said.
“He had no intention or prior plan to engage in any of that behavior,” the Hoovestal said.
An attorney for Jerod Hughes did not immediately respond to a telephone message seeking comment.
The brothers remained free pending their sentencing on November 22, following a Thursday hearing before U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly in Washington.
The two are among more than 860 people charged with crimes related to the breach of the Capitol.