HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana man who was among the first people to illegally enter the U.S. Capitol while Congress was certifying President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election was sentenced to nearly four years in federal prison on the two-year anniversary of the insurrection.
Jerod Hughes, 39, of East Helena, was sentenced Friday to 3 years and 10 months in prison for his actions during the approximately 38 minutes he was inside the Capitol during the riot carried out by supporters of then-President Donald Trump. The sentence was five months shorter than prosecutors requested.
“Defendant sincerely regrets his involvement in the instant case and is embarrassed that he allowed himself to be so gullible," his attorney, Jonathan Zucker, wrote in his sentencing memo.
In court documents, Hughes said he was duped into believing the 2020 presidential election was stolen and that he was “responding to the clarion call of a charlatan” when he answered Trump's pleas to “save the country” that day, the Independent Record reported.
His brother, Joshua Hughes, was sentenced in November to just over three years in prison.
Both men were sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution.
The brothers climbed through a broken window and Jerod Hughes helped kick open a door to allow other rioters into the Capitol, the FBI said in charging documents.
The brothers were near the front of a group that pursued Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman while he backed up a flight of stairs and was able to lead the mob away from the Senate floor. The brothers later made their way into the Senate chamber, court records said.
The brothers are among the at least 900 people arrested for crimes related to the riot, the Department of Justice says.
This version corrects when Joshua Hughes was sentenced to November, instead of last month.