‘Loudmouth’ Capitol riot defendant had a rough day at his Jan. 6 jury trial
WASHINGTON – A self-described “mouthed roar” Tennessee man who filmed himself screaming “We’re in this second” during the storming of the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, had a hard time explaining his actions to a jury this week.
Matthew Bledsoe, of Memphis, faces a felony charge of obstruction of official proceedings as well as several misdemeanors, including entering or remaining in a restricted building, disorderly conduct and camp. Bledsoe, the seventh defendant on Jan. 6 to face a jury trial, stood as a witness on Wednesday.
In closing remarks Thursday, his attorney, Jerry Ray Smith, argued that juries should convict him of one misdemeanor, protesting or picketing inside the Capitol, but not guilty on the other counts. Jurors in the Bledsoe case are expected to begin deliberations later Thursday.
The trial unfolded as media attention in the capital’s federal court focused on contempt for the congressional trial of Steve BannonTrump ally and former White House strategist who refused to comply with a subpoena to obtain documents and testimony from a House select committee investigating Jan. 6
Bledsoe argued that he was unaware that Congress was certifying Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election when he stormed the Capitol. Despite receiving updates from his wife and brother about Congressional actions inside the Capitol on the day of the riots, he told jurors he had no idea what lawmakers were doing. Former President Donald Trump’s speech at the Ellipse, which preceded the riots, also referred to the Electoral College’s accreditation process.
When he entered the Capitol through a door with broken panes of glass, Bledsoe filmed himself saying, “Where are these pieces?” Alarms were ringing in the background of the video.
“Who were these pieces—?” asked Assistant US Attorney Jimmy Carter Bledsoe Wednesday. He was “talking loud,” Bledsoe said, insisting he was not referring to lawmakers but rather to the people he believed at the time had stolen the election.
Carter then showed a photo Bledsoe reposted on social media depicting members of Congress gathering inside the House of Representatives amid the riots, with a comment suggesting politicians should be afraid.
Bledsoe said it was “just something I reposted,” and that he didn’t have all the information at the time.
When prosecutors confronted him with a letter he sent to his wife saying it was “good” for someone to plant bombs near the Capitol, Bledsoe said he didn’t really mean the word “good.” He also claimed he didn’t really mean it when he wrote that he “broke into the Capitol.”
In an attempt to explain why he climbed a wall to get to the Capitol, Bledsoe said his home in Tennessee was “completely different” from the capital, and that he climbed the walls in the house regularly.
Bledsoe also claimed he couldn’t hear the Capitol alarms on January 6, or in the video he filmed, which was played back for jury.
Carter told the jury Thursday that Bledsoe appears to have a selective memory about what happened on the day of the riot.
“It seems he didn’t see things that could hurt him in his case today,” Carter said, encouraging the jury to take Bledsoe in his own words. “He meant what he said, he said what he meant.”
“You don’t ‘break in’ where you have the right to be,” Carter said. “I don’t ‘break in’ at my friend’s house when I go to dinner.” “He said he stormed the Capitol, and he meant it.”
Bledsoe’s attorney, who admitted that his client showed “extremely poor judgment” and was “not entirely blameless” for his actions, argued that the government had failed to establish beyond reasonable doubt that Bledsoe had gone with the intention of obstructing official action.
Smith said that when Bledsoe saw the tear gas inside the rotunda, “the scales fell from his eyes” and he first realized he was not welcome in the Capitol.
FBI arrested About 850 accused Regarding the January 6 attack. More than 300 defendants have pleaded guilty and more than 200 have already been sentenced.
The first six accused of the rebellion face a jury trial – Jay RevitAnd the Thomas RobertsonAnd the Dustin ThompsonAnd the Thomas WebsterAnd the Timothy Hale CuzanelliAnd the Anthony Robert Williams – They were convicted on every charge they faced. Other defendants were convicted by judges during bench trials, and only one defendant was fully convicted disowned.