Andrew Hatley, one of 10 South Carolinians so far charged in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots, pleaded guilty Tuesday to riot-related charges and admitted he deliberately tried to disrupt Congress during the electoral certification vote of now President Joe Biden.
The guilty plea was the result of a plea deal between Hatley and federal prosecutors.
Specifically, Hatley pleaded guilty to “parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.” The offense carries a maximum sentence of six months in federal prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Hatley will be sentenced Dec. 16 by U.S. Judge Thomas Hogan.
A written statement of Hatley’s crimes was part of Tuesday’s public court record.
The Charleston Post and Courier first reported Hatley’s guilty plea.
Hatley was part of a crowd that “forced entry into the U.S. Capitol, including by breaking windows and by assaulting members of law enforcement, as others in the crowd encouraged and assisted those acts. The riot resulted in substantial damage to the U.S. Capitol, requiring the expenditure of more than $1.4 million dollars for repairs,” the statement said.
Hatley specifically traveled to Washington in his old Mustang to protest the certification of Biden’s election, according to a complaint in the case. The presidential election certification was the final stage in formalizing Biden’s Nov. 3 election, which former President Donald Trump falsely claimed was stolen and riddled with fraud.
Although Hatley did not assault any law enforcement officer, he entered the Capitol without going through established security checkpoints and being inspected for weapons, getting in by “climbing in through a smashed window.”
“After he entered, he took a picture of himself with his cell phone that depicted him in a crowd of rioters that had also entered the Capitol in that location,” the statement said.
The crowd Hatley was part of caused members of Congress to evacuate the building and not resume proceedings until more than five hours later, the statement said.
In the statement, Hatley admitted that if his case were to go to trial, the government “could prove the ... facts beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Evidence against Hatley included photos he took of himself inside the Capitol wearing a black cowboy hat and a green respirator, as well as an admission to FBI agents that “he entered the U.S. Capitol Building during the riot on Jan. 6, 2021,” the statement said.
Other evidence included geolocation data on Hatley’s cell phone that showed the phone was inside the Capitol that day.
The photos included a selfie Hatley took of himself with a statue of John C. Calhoun, the statement said. Calhoun was a 19th century vice president and U.S. senator from South Carolina who was one of the South’s foremost supporters of slavery.
So far, the FBI has arrested more than 600 people in connection with the storming of the Capitol.
It is the largest round-up of defendants in a federal criminal case in history, according to the U.S. Justice Department. Some 185 of those arrested face the more serious charges of assaulting an officer.
Other South Carolinians charged in the Capitol riots are:
▪ Nicholas Languerand, of Little River, was charged in April with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, assaulting an officer using a dangerous weapon, theft of government property and knowingly entering and remaining in a restricted government area
▪ Hanahan couple, John Getsinger Jr. and Stacie Hargis-Getsinger, were arraigned in Charleston before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Gordon Baker
▪ Elliott Bishai, 20, of York County.
▪ William Norwood III, of Greer, is charged with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building without lawful authority, violent and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, obstruction of justice and theft of government property
▪ George Tenney III, 34, of Anderson, is charged with interfering with a law enforcement officer during a civil disorder, obstruction of justice, knowingly entering a restricted building, disorderly conduct in a restricted building, disorderly conduct in a Capitol building and demonstrating in a Capitol building
▪ Derek Gunby, 41, of Anderson County, is charged with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds
▪ James Douglas Lollis Jr., of Greer, is charged with entering and remaining in a restricted building, disruptive conduct in a restrictive building, disorderly conduct in a Capitol building and parading or demonstrating in a Capitol building