A Virginia man who admitted to destroying thousands of dollars worth of media equipment during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol will spend almost three years behind bars.
Joshua Dillon Haynes, 40, of Covington, had boasted to friends about his exploits that day, when he joined the violent crowd of Donald Trump supporters in overwhelming police and swarming the Capitol shortly after Congress began the process of certifying Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral win. Lawmakers were forced to flee or shelter in place for hours.
“I’m inside Congress he stormed inside,” he said in a text message, according to the government’s sentencing memo, correcting himself with a text that said “we*” moments later. He then sent a picture he took of himself inside a senator’s office. He left the building at around 3:12 p.m., having spent about 45 minutes inside.
But he wasn’t done.
At around 4:50 p.m., Haynes was part of a crowd of rioters that rushed a media staging area that was set up on a corner of Capitol grounds. Members of the media were forced to flee, and Haynes was among the rioters who started destroying what was left behind, including cameras, tripods, and other broadcasting equipment. At around 5:00 p.m., according to the Justice Department, Haynes picked up and slammed multiple pieces of equipment to the ground.
“[B]roke lotsa stuff,” he said in a text, according to court documents, later adding: “We attacked the CNN reporters and the fake news and destroyed tens of thousands of dollars of their video and television equipment.”
Indeed, according to the government’s sentencing memo, one media organization estimated the destroyed equipment was valued between $30,000 and $34,000.
Haynes, for his part, could not stop talking about what he had done.
“They had to run away from us and leave all their equipment so we destroyed it,”
“[I] Kicked [sic] the fake news ass.”
“I have already seen a report of it and I am in the video destroying the stuff but I’m wearing a mask.”
“I want to get busted for tearing up the nations capital [sic] and the fake news.”
Haynes also admitted to helping two other people remove an air conditioning unit from a building outside the U.S. Capitol and drop it on the ground.
He pleaded guilty in October to obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress, which carries a potential 20-year prison sentence, and destruction of property, a five-year felony.
The 32-month sentence issued by U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan on Thursday matches what prosecutors had requested. Haynes had asked for a sentence of 27 months. Chutkan also added three years of supervised release to Haynes’ sentence.
The federal docket instructs that Haynes’ sentence should run consecutively with his sentence on Virginia state charges. Court records indicate that Haynes was sentenced to five years in prison in April on domestic violence charges. His sentencing memo in the Jan. 6 case says that he has served time in prison on a Virginia state charge.
Chutkan, a Barack Obama appointee, ordered the parties to determine how much restitution Haynes should pay.
According to local news reports, Haynes was previously active in local government and served on the Covington Planning commission.
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