Josiah B. Colt, 34, became the latest defendant to agree to cooperate in the breach investigation, seeking to pare down a possible recommended five-year prison sentence.
Though Colt is not accused of being part of a larger militia-like group, he admitted in plea papers to joining at least two men from Nevada and Tennessee who arranged travel, raised funds, bought paramilitary gear and recorded themselves before breaking into the building and rushing to the Senate chamber just evacuated by lawmakers.
“My fellow patriot Josiah Colt sleeping ready for the boogaloo Jan 6,” one of the others, alleged QAnon follower Ronald Sandlin, posted on Facebook on Jan. 4, according to plea papers. The post included a picture of Colt in a bed holding a handgun, and used a term taken up by fringe groups referring to civil war, Colt acknowledged in plea papers.
In a group video recorded before the riot, Sandlin “urge[d] other patriots” watching to “take the Capitol” and said “there is going to be violence,” according to plea papers.
“We are going to be there [the Capitol] back by one o’clock when it is action time it is game time,” Sandlin added, according to plea documents. That hour, prosecutors said, was the time Congress convened to certify the 2020 presidential election results and the moment members of the pro-Trump mob began confronting police and charging barricades outside the building.
In a plea hearing, U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan of Washington read from Colt’s signed statement of facts and plea deal in which prosecutors agreed to drop three misdemeanor charges in exchange for his full cooperation.
“You not only got into the Senate gallery, but you sat in the presiding officer’s chair, which you mistakenly thought was Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi’s chair, is that an accurate summary?” Hogan said.
Colt said yes. But he added that his pose in the photo was “kind of a joke.” He also said he did not know the meaning of “boogaloo” at that time, and that, “taken out of context, it looks worse than it is.”
Hogan did not set a sentencing date, but he directed Colt to return to court on Oct. 18 after cooperating with prosecutors.
In plea papers, Colt admitted to discussing plans in a video before the riot with Sandlin, of Memphis, and Nate DeGrave, of Las Vegas.
Both men have since been charged and held pending trial. DeGrave, 31 at the time of his arrest, has pleaded not guilty to a nine-count indictment including obstruction of an official proceeding, civil disorder and impeding police.
Sandlin, 33 when arrested, also pleaded not guilty to a similar 11-count indictment.
“Mr. DeGrave looks forward to his day in Court and being acquitted,” defense attorney John Pierce said. “In the course of his and other trials, we are going to expose what actually happened on January 6, 2021, and who exactly was behind it. The nation cannot move forward until that occurs.”
Sandlin’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to Colt’s plea papers read by the judge, Sandlin in a Dec. 23 Facebook post asked who would join him on Jan. 6 to “stop the steal and stand behind Trump when he decides to cross the rubicon.”
Sandlin in a Dec. 31 post announced plans to travel with DeGrave and Colt, organize a “caravan of patriots” and raise money.
The post contained a link to a GoFundMe page with Sandlin’s face superimposed on a person in a car holding what appears to be a gold-plated semiautomatic rifle and a caption that read in part, “Ronnie Sandlin needs your support for Patriots Defending Our Country On Jan 6th,” according to plea papers.
Colt traveled to Washington with a Glock G43 pistol, and he and Sandlin posted pictures of recent purchases including a holster, gas masks and helmet, plea papers stated. The three drove to Washington from Tennessee in a rental car with those items, an M&P bodyguard pocket pistol, two magazines of ammunition, bear spray, a handheld stun gun, body armor, expandable baton, walkie-talkies and knives, Colt admitted.
Colt admitted bringing the pistol to a pro-Trump rally in Washington on Jan. 5, but he left it in his Virginia hotel room the next day, plea papers said.
Marching from a Trump-led rally at the Ellipse to the Capitol that afternoon, the three learned that Vice President Mike Pence had not intervened to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s win. Arriving at the Capitol, Colt repeatedly yelled “breach the building,” the group entered the Rotunda and Colt said numerous times, “let’s get to the Senate, bro,” adding “where they’re meeting,” Colt acknowledged.
Once there, Colt said in plea papers that he saw Sandlin and DeGrave try to shove their way past police officers and gain access to the Senate gallery after Sandlin punched an officer.
Colt jumped to the Senate floor, where DeGrave yelled at him to take documents and laptops, but he refused, according to plea papers.
Prosecutors have not said why they have charged the men individually, instead of as a group. Prosecutors have said they investigated the men for conspiracy but did not charge that offense, as they have members of the Proud Boys, a far-right group with a history of violence, and the Oath Keepers.