District of Columbia Man Sentenced to 55 Months in Prison for Actions During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach
Defendant Encountered Senate Minority Leader While Illegally Inside Building
WASHINGTON – A District of Columbia man was sentenced today to 55 months in prison on a felony charge stemming from his actions during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. His actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election.
Joshua Pruitt, 40, formerly of Washington, D.C., was sentenced in the District of Columbia.
According to court documents, on Jan. 6, 2021, Pruitt, who was in the process of joining the Proud Boys, attended a rally with members of the group, which describes itself as a “pro-Western fraternal organization for men who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world; aka Western Chauvinists.” At approximately 12:30 p.m., he began marching from the area of the rally to the Capitol. At about 2:10 p.m., he was illegally on the restricted grounds of the Northwest Lawn. He was wearing a tactical glove with knuckle pads. He saw rioters push through a line of law enforcement officers and advance up the stairs to the Upper West Terrace. Pruitt followed them, using a piece of fencing as a makeshift ladder to climb on onto the stairs.
Pruitt advanced up the stairs and toward the Capitol building. He leapt over a railing before entering the Capitol through the Senate Wing Door at approximately 2:14 p.m. He threw a wooden sign, and he was one of the first rioters to enter the Crypt. After rioters breached the police line in the Crypt, Pruitt moved toward the Capitol Visitor’s Center. There, he picked up a chair and tossed it. He then continued in the direction of the Senate subway. Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and his security detail – who had evacuated from the Senate Chamber -- walked up a ramp toward the elevators in the northern part of the Visitor’s Center. A member of the security detail saw Pruitt approaching. As a result, Senator Schumer and his security detail reversed course, running away from the elevator and back down the ramp.
Pruitt climbed out a window to leave the building at approximately 2:52 p.m. He was arrested the night of Jan. 6 for violating a curfew in place in Washington, and federal charges were filed against him the next day.
Pruitt pleaded guilty on June 3, 2022, to a charge of obstruction of an official proceeding. Following his prison term, he will be placed on three years of supervised release. He also must pay $2,000 in restitution.
The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.
The case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department.
In the 19 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 860 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 260 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing.
Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.