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Montana man gets sentenced reduced for January 6 Capitol riots

A judge in late June granted Joshua Hughes of East Helena a five month sentence reduction.
lakshmiprasad S
A judge in late June granted Joshua Hughes of East Helena a five month sentence reduction.

An East Helena man will spend less time in prison for his role in the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, after a federal judge granted him a reduced sentence.

More than 1,400 people have been charged with federal crimes for breaching the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Eight of those people have Montana ties, including 40-year-old Joshua Hughes and his brother, Jerrod Hughes, from East Helena.

Federal prosecutors say the Hughes brothers were among the first rioters to enter the Capitol building illegally on January 6.

Both brothers were charged and convicted, and Joshua Hughes received 38 months in prison. On July 1, a federal judge shaved five months off of his sentence, after lawyers made the case Hughes had limited criminal history and didn’t commit violent acts at the Capitol.

The request to have Hughes’ sentence reduced pointed to a recent federal ruling for another January 6 rioter, Larry Brock, where a federal appeals judge said the grounds for a longer prison sentence were too broad.

U.S. v. Brock is one of two federal cases this year that found the court applied the charge of obstruction of an official proceeding too broadly in connection to the January 6 riots.

The other case, Fischer v. USA, made it to the United States Supreme Court, which ruled last Friday, June 28 that federal obstruction charges did not meet the criteria for rioters’ actions at the Capitol.

U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana Jesse Laslovich said he disagrees with the outcome.

“You’re limiting the government’s ability in my view to hold people accountable for their criminal conduct and keep people safe, or in this instance, to be even more specific, to allow official proceedings to proceed as they are intended to proceed,” Laslovich said.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia stated in a fact sheet that it expects the Fischer ruling to affect fewer than 2 percent of all charged cases arising from the Capitol Breach.

Kayla writes about energy policy, the oil and gas industry and new electricity developments.