A member of the far-right Proud Boys group on Wednesday pleaded guilty to obstructing police officers when he joined the 6 January 2021, insurrection at the US Capitol by supporters of then-president Donald Trump, in their attempt to overturn his election defeat.
The plea agreement filed in the federal court in Washington, DC, calls for Louis Enrique Colon of Missouri to admit to a single felony charge and cooperate with prosecutors.
Colon admitted to crossing police barricades during the riot before climbing a wall to gain access to a higher level of the Capitol.
While inside the Capitol building, Colon used his hands and a chair to obstruct police officers who were trying to lower retractable doors to stop rioters from streaming into the building.
The attack followed a rally led by Trump near the White House, in which he urged thousands gathered to advance to the Capitol and “fight like hell” while both chambers of the US Congress were convening to certify Joe Biden’s victory over Trump in the 2020 election .
Biden’s win was certified in the early hours of the following day after lawmakers, staff and journalists had fled for their lives during the deadly riot at the Capitol.
Colon, 45, was charged in February 2021, along with four other members of the Kansas City metro chapter of the Proud Boys group. He is the first defendant in that case to plead guilty.
A judge had imposed monitoring conditions on Colon while he awaited trial. Colon will be sentenced later this year, and he faces a statutory maximum of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
He will probably receive a reduced sentence because of his admission of responsibility and cooperation.
Colon was not charged in the same conspiracy case as Enrique Tarrio, the former Proud Boys chairman and one of the most high-profile of the 800 people facing criminal charges relating to the riot.
Colon’s plea comes two weeks after a Proud Boys leader, Charles Donohoe, pleaded guilty to obstructing an official proceeding, and assaulting and preventing police officers.
Meanwhile, in a different criminal case, one of the dozens of police officers injured during the insurrection testified on Wednesday that he didn’t punch or pick a fight with a retired New York police officer charged with attacking the officer.
Thomas Webster, whose trial on an assault charge started this week, claims he was acting in self-defense when he tackled Metropolitan police department officer Noah Rathbun outside the Capitol on 6 January 2021.
Rathbun said he reached out with an open left hand and pushed Webster into the face after the New York man shoved a bike rack at him. Rathbun said he was trying to move Webster back from a security perimeter that officers were struggling to maintain behind rows of bike racks.
“It’s unfortunate to be in the nation’s capital and be treated like that by another citizen,” Rathbun said during the second day of Webster’s trial.
Videos shown by prosecutors depict Webster shoving a bike rack at Rathbun before swinging a flag pole at the officer in a downward chopping motion, striking a metal barricade in front of the officer.
After Rathbun grabbed the broken pole and retreated, Webster charged at the officer and tackled him to the ground.
Rathbun said he started choking and couldn’t breathe when Webster grabbed his gas mask and the chin strap pressed against the officer’s neck.
Separately from the hundreds of criminal prosecutions, a special House of Representatives committee is investigating any links between Trump, his White House team, congressional Republicans and the insurrection.