HELENA — Jerod Hughes, 39, has been sentenced to three years and 10 months in prison for his actions during the January 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Hughes and his brother Joshua Hughes from East Helena were some of the first rioters to breach the Capitol that day, according to the Department of Justice.
On Friday in Washington D.C., Federal District Court Judge Timothy Kelly handed down his ruling. In addition to prison, Jerod Hughes will have to pay $2,000 in restitution.
The Hughes brothers pleaded guilty to Obstruction of an Official Proceeding and Aiding and Abetting on August 25. In November, Judge Kelly sentenced Joshua Hughes to three years and two months in prison.
The Hughes brothers were in the nation’s capital to attend Former President Trump’s rally objecting to the certification of election results. The Department of Justice say the day before, Jerod texted a friend quote “Stay tuned buddy. Trump is gonna drop the hammer or we are.”
After Trump spoke the brothers made their way to the Capitol with the advancing mob. Video captured the men climbing scaffolding which allowed them to get closer to the front. They made their way with the advancing crowd that was pushing against, and broke through police barricades.
Hughes watched as other rioters broke a window near the Senate Wing Door on the west side of the building and then entered through that broken window at 2:13 p.m. Prosecutors say he was the eighth rioter to breach the Capitol that day and was recorded attempting to kick a door open that allowed more rioters to enter.
The brothers were at the front of the crowd as it moved through the Capitol. They quickly encountered Officer Eugene Goodman who led rioters away from the Senate Chambers, which was still being evacuated at the time.
In a confrontation with police that was recorded, Jerod can be heard shouting “they can’t stop us” and “There’s a **** army behind us! You guys don’t want this!”
Around a half hour later at 2:44 p.m., Hughes entered the Senate Gallery. He left shortly after entering and went to the Senate Chamber floor with his brother. He walked among the senators’ desks for approximately two minutes. Jerod Hughes and his brother left the building at approximately 2:51 p.m.
Prosecutors say Jerod Hughes texted friends that day about entering the Capitol with one of Hughe’s responses to friends saying “Not enough people followed us in to hold the place. We had to get the **** out.”
On Jan. 11, 2021, the Hughes brothers voluntarily turned themselves in to Helena Police after seeing news reports that the FBI was trying to identify them. Jerod Hughes gave his cell phone to investigators who retrieved the text messages.
In court filings, Hughes’ lawyer said the East Helena man sincerely regrets his involvement with Hughes initially believing those actions were patriotic, but now feeling duped and taken advantage of by former President Trump.
The defense also said that Hughes and his family are paying a heavy price for "being misled and manipulated."
Jerod Hughes is the fourth known Montana resident to be sentenced for alleged actions taken at the U.S. Capitol during the riot.