The DOJ just lost part of its case against Joshua Black, a 46-year-old man from Alabama who was one of the first to make it to the floor of the Senate on January 6th. He was shot in the face by a less lethal round before doing so, with the images of him from the incident showing him with a distinctive wound on his face and yellow gloves.
He was acquitted on the obstruction charge because prosecutors could not, in the view of the judge in the case, prove the requisite mental state. Specifically, the judge in the case noted that Black had a “unique stew in his mind,” and that that made it difficult to figure out whether he understood that he was breaking the law when he entered the Capitol.
The judge also said that the DOJ prosecutors failed to prove that Black intended on disrupting Congress, as there was evidence that he thought the election certification process had ended by the time he entered the Capitol.
Black said, in a YouTube video about why he entered the Capitol building, “Once we found out Pence turned on us and they had stolen the election, like officially, the crowd went crazy. 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.”
Adding to that, he said “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.”
Black is the first of those protesters who made it to the Senate floor to be acquitted on the obstruction charge, according to Axios.
Black was, however, found guilty on the charge of carrying a weapon in the Capitol. That “weapon” was a small pocket-knife he kept on him for work, as he said in a YouTube video, saying “I wasn’t planning on pulling it. I just carry a knife because I do. I work outside, and you need knives, you know. I just, you’re not allowed to carry guns in DC, and I don’t like being defenseless.”
The DOJ, in a press release on the charges Black was found guilty on, said:
Joshua Matthew Black, 46, of Leeds, Alabama, was found guilty after a trial in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia 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.
[…]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.