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East Helena man pleads not guilty, seeks release while awaiting trial for Capitol Riot charges

Joshua Calvin Hughes and Jerod Wade Hughes of Montana charged in connection with US Capitol riot
Posted at 12:08 PM, Mar 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-26 16:56:22-04

HELENA — On March 25, Jerod Wade Hughes of East Helena entered a plea of not guilty on nine charges which include obstruction of an official proceeding, obstruct/impede/interfere with law enforcement during a civil disorder and entering the Capitol Building with the Intent to disrupt official business.

Prosecutors say Hughes and his brother Joshua Hughes were among the first 10 rioters to enter the Capitol at that part of the building. Investigators accused Jerod Hughes of working with another man to kick open a door to allow more people to enter the building.

Joshua Calvin Hughes and Jerod Wade Hughes of Montana charged in connection with US Capitol riot
Joshua Calvin Hughes and Jerod Wade Hughes of Montana charged in connection with US Capitol riot

Court documents say the men were in a crowd that began working their way toward the Senate floor. Investigators say the two met up with another suspect, Douglas Austin Jensen, who engaged Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman.

On Wednesday, Jerod Hughes also requested to be released on his own recognizance and be placed on house arrest.

According to the motion filed to the court , Jerod Hughes is the sole financial provider for his family and should be released so that he may work and care for his family.

Court documents say Hughes was responding to the request, “of the then commander in chief, President Trump. The former President maintained that the election had been stolen and it was the duty of loyal citizens to ‘stop the steal’ by preventing election certification.”

The defense said Hughes acted out of conscience, though manipulated by deception and would, “not be so easily duped again.”

The prosecution argued that Hughes should remain in federal custody and be denied bond, saying, “Whatever his intent leading up to January 6, 2021, Defendant placed himself at the ‘tip of the spear’ that day and actively engaged in the destruction of government property; harassment of, and interference with, Capitol Police officers; and obstruction of the Joint Session of Congress that had gathered to certify the Electoral College results. A presumption in favor of detention exists in this case which Defendant cannot rebut. Even if he could, all four of the Bail Reform Act factors weigh heavily in favor of detention."

The prosecution also noted Hughes’s family situation didn’t prevent him from traveling 2,200 miles to Washington D.C. on Jan. 6.

On Feb. 1, Judge John Johnston had denied Hughes’s initial request to be released stating: “no combination of release conditions will reasonably assure Hughes’s appearance at full court proceedings.”

Editor's Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Hughes had been denied for his most recent request to be released.