Joshua Matthew Black, a 46-year-old Alabama man, was found guilty on Friday of multiple charges related to his actions during the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, with prosecutors aided by incriminatory social media content posted by Black and others.
Hundreds of other Jan. 6 rioters were implicated by their own online posts, and Black was no exception. Photographs and videos taken during the Jan. 6 riot showed Black standing on the floor of the Senate chamber and two days later he posted two videos on YouTube in which he admitted entering the Capitol and bringing a knife with him.
In the YouTube videos, Black said the crowd of protesters became enraged after former President Donald Trump’s tweet about Vice President Mike Pence refusing to block certification of the Electoral College votes, according to a report by AL.com.
“Once we found out Pence turned on us and they had stolen the election, like officially, the crowd went crazy,’’ said Black. “I mean, it became a mob. We crossed the gate…We just wanted to get inside the building. I wanted to get inside the building so I could plead the blood of Jesus over it. That was my goal.”
On the video, Black described approaching the door to the Senate chamber. “I just felt like the spirit of God wanted me to go in the Senate room, you know. So I was about to break the glass and I thought, no, this is our house, we don’t act like that. I was tempted to, I’m not gonna lie. ‘Cause I’m pretty upset. You know? They stole my country.”
He admitted to bringing a weapon with him, saying that he “wasn’t planning on pulling it” but carried a knife because he was used to doing so in his work with a lawn service and “you’re not allowed to carry guns in D.C. and I don’t like being defenseless.”
Black said that the blood on his face was from being shot by some sort of projectile that went through his left cheek, claiming that happened while he was attempting to help a police officer who had fallen “on the ground and there was boots coming down,” with other rioters attacking him.
According to Alabama Political Reporter, Black also said on the video that he had partially shaved his beard after returning to Alabama in an effort to disguise his appearance, but must have had a change of heart, calling the FBI himself to admit he broke into the Capitol, as described in an FBI agent’s affidavit:
“On January 7, 2021, an anonymous individual called the FBI and admitted that he broke into the Capitol and entered the Senate chamber with other individuals. The anonymous individual called from a telephone number associated with BLACK of Alabama,” the affidavit states.
Black agreed to meet with an FBI special agent in Moody on Jan. 8, according to those records, and at the meeting said he’d recorded the videos detailing his experience.
On Jan. 10, 2021, a caller to the FBI tip line seeking identification of the Jan. 6 rioters recognized Black in one of the photos distributed by the FBI (shown below) as he stood in the Senate chamber.
The FBI searched Black’s residence in Leeds, Alabama on Jan. 14, 2021, recovered the knife he admitted bringing to the Capitol, and arrested him later that day.
After a trial in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, Black was found guilty of “entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon; unlawful possession of a dangerous weapon on Capitol grounds or buildings; entering and remaining on the floor of Congress; and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building,” according to a press release from the Department of Justice.
The judge presiding over Black’s case, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, has scheduled his sentencing hearing for May 5, 2023. According to the DOJ’s press release, Black is facing multiple years in prison in addition to potential fines:
The charges of entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon and disorderly and disruptive conduct in restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon carry a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years. The charge of unlawful possession of a dangerous weapon on Capitol grounds or buildings carries a statutory maximum sentence of five years. The charges of entering and remaining on the floor of Congress and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building carry up to six months. All charges carry potential financial penalties. The Court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
According to the DOJ, more than 950 people from nearly every state have been arrested for crimes related to the Capitol breach, and investigations and prosecutions are ongoing.
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