FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 6, 2023
Texas Man Sentenced on Felony Charge For Actions During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach
Defendant Rifled Through Senator’s Desk on Senate Floor
A Texas man was sentenced today for felony obstruction of an official proceeding during the breach of the United States 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, 32, of Sherman, Texas, formerly of Spokane, Washington, was sentenced to 24 months in prison for obstruction of an official proceeding. Johnson pleaded guilty, on March 21, 2023, in the District of Columbia. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Christopher R. Cooper ordered 24 months of supervised release, restitution of $2,000 to the Architect of the Capitol, and a $100 fine.
According to court documents, on Jan. 6, 2021, Johnson arrived at the east side of the U.S. 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 through the hallways of the Capitol—checking door handles of locked doors as he made his way to the Senate gallery.
Court records say that at about 2:43 p.m., Johnson put on and removed a gas mask as he made his way toward the Senate floor, which he reached by about 2:49 p.m. As he approached the Senate chamber, Johnson’s goal was to “be heard” by members of the United States Congress, who Johnson was surprised to see had already evacuated the chamber, 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 in the chamber using his cell phone. By about 3:02 p.m., Johnson left the chamber and exited the building through the north doors at about 3:07 p.m., raising his hands in the air as the crowd of rioters still outside the building cheered.
Johnson was arrested on March 23, 2022, in Plano, Texas.
This case was 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 was 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 30 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 1,069 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 350 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.
Updated July 6, 2023 Original Article