HELENA — On Thursday, the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and the events that led up to it will hold a prime-time public hearing on its findings. The committee will begin the session at 6 p.m. Mountain time.
On January 6, 2021, rioters clashed with an unprepared police presence, with the first to break the Capitol doing so through broken windows. At least 860 people have been charged for alleged actions at the Capitol that day. 138 officers were injured that day. Four rioters died: one was shot by Capitol Police, two died from heart failure and one died from a drug overdose.
Six Montanans and one prominent former Montana lawyer have been charged for alleged actions connected to the events at the U.S. Capitol.
Elmer Stewart Rhodes
Disbarred Montana lawyer and former leader of the Oath Keepers Elmer Stewart Rhodes faces some of the most serious charges for suspects that have been arrested.
Although Rhodes did not personally enter the Capitol that day, the Department of Justice has charged him with seditious conspiracy and alleged that Rhodes and the Oath Keepers used paramilitary combat tactics to breach and attempt to take control of the Capitol grounds.
He has pleaded not guilty and been denied release until trial.
In 2010, Rhodes relocated his law firm to Montana where he was licensed to practice law. Court filings had listed Montana addresses for Rhodes in Big Arm, Kalispell and Trego over the years.
On Dec. 8, 2015, the Montana Supreme Court officially disbarred Rhodes from practicing law for conduct violating the Montana Rules of Professional Conduct.
In the following years, he would relocate to Granbury, Texas.
Joshua and Jerod Hughes
Joshua and Jerod Hughes are accused of being some of the first to enter the U.S. Capitol Building through a window that had been broken by another rioter.
The East Helena brothers face nine charges which include obstruction of an official proceeding, obstruct/impede/interfere with law enforcement during a civil disorder, and entering the Capitol Building with the intent to disrupt official business.
According to court documents, the Hughes brother can be seen in photographs confronting Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman. Goodman led rioters away from the U.S. Senate Chamber while it was still being evacuated.
Federal prosecutors also say the Hughes brothers can be seen on the floor of the senate.
Their next status conference has been set for August 4, 2022
Isaac Sturgeon of Dillon has been indicted on more than a half dozen charges, including obstruction of justice; assaulting, resisting or impeding officers; engaging in physical violence in a restricted building and an act of physical violence in the Capitol grounds.
Prosecutors allege in court documents that Sturgeon was seen on an officer's body-worn camera on January 6 and was part of a group that picked up a metal barricade and shoved it into a group of D.C. Metropolitan Police officers.
He has pleaded not guilty. No trial date has been set.
Dillon business owner Hank Muntzer is slated to go to trial on August 30.
The charges against Muntzer include: Obstruction of an Official Proceeding; Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building; Disorderly and Disruptive Conduct in a Restricted Building or Grounds; Disorderly Conduct in a Capitol Building; and Parading, Demonstrating, or Picketing in a Capitol Building. He has been released on his own recognizance.
Muntzer has said he believes the videos he recorded that day will show that he did nothing wrong.
Former Missoula-area Real Estate Agent Boyd Camper was the first Montanan to plead guilty and be sentenced to an offense connected to January 6.
He received a 60-day prison sentence for admitting to parading, demonstrating, or picketing in Capitol buildings. The judge also ordered Camper to pay$500 in restitution and serve 60 hours of community service.
At his sentencing, Camper told the judge about his mindset and recollection of his event on Jan. 6. He said he came to Washington D.C. because he was very involved on Facebook, believed the election was fraudulent and, as a Marine Corps veteran, went to answer the call of his “commander and chief” former President Donald Trump.
Since Jan. 6, Camper says he has become a pariah in Montana with friends, business associates and companies cutting ties with him. He has relocated to another state.
Belgrade business owner Andrew Cavanaugh pleaded guilty to misdemeanor parading, demonstrating and picketing in the Capitol building in February.
Sentencing was scheduled to take place Friday, June 10, but has been moved to July 14th.
He faces a maximum of six months in prison and/or a fine of $5,000. However, based on other Capitol Riot suspects' sentencing it is unlikely he would face the maximum penalties.
He has also agreed to pay $500 in restitution to the government for damages the Capitol building sustained during the riot. The Capitol Building and ground suffered an estimated $1.5 million in damages during the riot.