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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 21, 2022

Memphis Area Man Found Guilty by Jury of Charges Related to Capitol Breach

Defendant Entered Capitol Through Fire Door, Remained 22 Minutes

            WASHINGTON – A Memphis, Tennessee area man was found guilty today by a jury in the District of Columbia of felony and misdemeanor offenses for his actions during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach. 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.

            Matthew Bledsoe, 38, of Olive Branch, Mississippi, was found guilty of the felony offense of obstruction of an official proceeding, and four misdemeanor offenses, including entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a Capitol Building; disorderly conduct in a Capitol Building, and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol Building. The jury trial was before Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell in the U.S. District Court.

            According to the government’s evidence, in the days immediately following the Nov. 3, 2020, election, Bledsoe began posting to social media about the presidential election. On Jan. 6, 2021, he attended a rally near the Ellipse. Bledsoe then headed to the Capitol, and illegally entered the Capitol grounds shortly after 2:13 p.m. He then moved to the Capitol Building itself. He scaled a wall at the Upper Northwest Terrace and entered through a fire door at the Senate Wing. Among other things, he yelled, “In the Capitol. This is our house. We pay for this s---. Where’s those pieces of s---at?” He climbed a statue and was outside the corridor to the House Chamber and hallways near the Speaker’s Lobby. He left the building about 2:47 p.m., after approximately 22 minutes inside.

            Within two hours, however, Bledsoe returned, lingering outside the East Rotunda Doors as law enforcement officers worked to secure the building and grounds.

            In the days following the riot, Bledsoe continued to message with friends and family and post on social media regarding what happened on Jan. 6. For example, on Jan. 7, he posted on Facebook photos of Members of Congress taking cover and security officers defending the Members during the riot. One caption read, “How corrupt politicians should feel.”

            Bledsoe, formerly of Cordova, Tennessee, was arrested on Jan. 13, 2021.

            He is to be sentenced on Oct. 21, 2022. The felony obstruction charge carries a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison and potential financial penalties. The four misdemeanor offenses carry a combined statutory maximum of three years of incarceration and potential financial penalties. The Court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

            The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. Valuable assistance was provided by U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee and the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division.

            The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Memphis Field Office. Valuable assistance was provided by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, the U.S. Capitol Police, and the Metropolitan Police Department.

            In the 18 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 850 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.

Updated July 21, 2022