Tennessee man receives 4 years in prison for Capitol breach

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee business owner who scaled a wall outside the U.S. Capitol was sentenced Friday to four years in prison after he was convicted of five charges connected to the raid on Jan. 6, 2021, federal prosecutors said.

Matthew Bledsoe, 38, of Olive Branch, Mississippi, was found guilty in July of one felony — obstruction of an official proceeding — and four misdemeanors related to the Capitol breach, the Department of Justice said in a statement.

Federal prosecutors said Bledsoe was one of scores of people who forced their way into the Capitol as Congress met to certify President Joe Biden’s victory. Bledsoe illegally entered the Capitol grounds and scaled a wall to reach a fire door on the Senate side of the building.

A warrant said FBI agents received a tip that Bledsoe had been part of the group. Video shows Bledsoe passing through the outer door and into the Capitol hallway, the warrant said.

Agents were also led to a post by Bledsoe’s wife on her Facebook page in which she stated that “Matt was inside the Capitol, he was one of the first,” the warrant said.

Federal authorities received a video compilation that was posted to his Instagram account that included several photos and video shot by Bledsoe, who is seen wearing a Trump 2020 hat.

The photos and video show the crowd approaching the Capitol building and Bledsoe and others immediately outside the door, the warrant said.

According to the warrant, one companion says, “We’re going in!” before Bledsoe turns the camera to show the door and says, “This is our house,” and he utters profanities.

Bledsoe is listed in records as a principal of a Memphis moving company and authorities said he lived in nearby Cordova when he was arrested.

More than 880 people have been charged with crimes related to the attack on Jan. 6, 2021, the Justice Department said.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the Jan. 6 insurrection at https://apnews.com/hub/capitol-siege

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