Virginia man enters guilty plea for destruction outside U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6th, 2021

Joshua Haynes will face sentencing next year.
Published: Oct. 28, 2022 at 6:27 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Joshua Haynes of Covington, Virginia, entered a guilty plea Friday in a plea deal in federal court.

He was accused of entering the U.S. Capitol during the January 6, 2021 insurrection, smashing and stomping equipment at a media staging area, and helping others to dismantle an air conditioner.

Under the plea agreement, Haynes pled guilty to two felonies, including obstruction of an official proceeding and destruction of property in special maritime and territorial jurisdiction. The combined charges can carry a sentence up to 25 years in prison. However, lawyers suggested to the judge that Haynes only serve a sentence up to 33 months.

Haynes has also agreed to pay up to $2,000 restitution to the Architect of the Capitol. A judge will determine the final sentence and any fines during a court appearance scheduled at this time for January 31, 2023.

Court paperwork claims Haynes was captured on video causing the destruction of the media area while wearing a mask. It said Haynes “slammed down multiple pieces of equipment,” threw a light, lifted and dropped a video camera fixed to a tripod, and stomped on the camera as well. Investigators said another video caught him standing inside the Capitol with his mask off. One more video, paperwork claims, shows Haynes assisting two people to forcibly remove an air conditioning unit from a building outside the U.S. Capitol and dropping it to the ground.

Prosecutors said Haynes snapped selfies both inside a senator’s office and beside the media equipment he is accused of destroying.

Read the full criminal complaint here

The paperwork also details a string of messages Haynes alleged sent to friends including, “they had to run away from us and leave all their equipment so we destroyed it,” “I Kicked the fake news (expletive)” and “I want to get busted for tearing up the nations capital [sic] and the fake news.”

Investigations of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th led to the arrests of more than 725 people across nearly all 50 states. More than 225 of those people were charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.

The U.S. Capitol breach on January 6, 2021 forced Congress to evacuate on the day when lawmakers were scheduled to count the Electoral College ballots and certify Joe Biden’s election victory as president. Lawmakers returned that night to finish the certification once the complex was secured by DC Metropolitan Police, the National Guard and U.S. Capitol Police.