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Meridian man pleads not guilty to U.S. Capitol riot charges

Josiah Colt, 34, was photographed inside the Senate chambers and bragged on social media about breaching the Capitol building.

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — An Idaho man who filmed himself talking about participating in a riot at the United States Capitol in January has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. 

Thirty-four-year-old Josiah Colt of Meridian entered the not-guilty pleas Tuesday morning during a D.C. federal court hearing conducted by telephone.

Colt was indicted last month on four criminal counts: Obstruction of an Official Proceeding and Aiding and Abetting, Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building or Grounds, Disorderly and Disruptive Conduct in a Restricted Building or Grounds, Violent Entry and Disorderly Conduct in a Capitol Building. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in federal prison. 

The Jan. 6 riot happened when a group of supporters of former president Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building in an attempt to stop members of Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election, which President Joe Biden won. The attempt was ultimately unsuccessful, but five people - including a Capitol Police officer - died in the riot. More than 100 other police officers were hurt.

Colt was photographed dangling from a balcony in the evacuated Senate Chambers and later sitting in a chair reserved for former vice-president Mike Pence, according to the FBI.

He also posted prolifically on social media before and after the riot, bragging in one video that he had gotten inside the Capitol in the melee and calling Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi a "traitor."

In a statement to KTVB after his arrest, Colt said he was sorry and that he had not hurt anyone or destroyed any property in the Capitol. 

"It turned into something really tragic and that I did not want to happen," he said.

Colt is one of three Idahoans charged with participating in the riot at the Capitol. Michael Pope of Sandpoint was arrested in February, while Yvonne St. Cyr of Boise was taken into custody last week. More than 300 people in total have been charged in connection to the riot.

Colt, who waived his right to a speedy trial on Tuesday, has been allowed to remain out of custody in Idaho as long as he abides by pretrial restrictions. The trial date has not yet been set, with the defendant's lawyer telling a judge Tuesday that there is still "a very large volume of discovery" in the case the defense needs to get from the prosecution.

The next hearing in the case is set for May 5.

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