Justice Department sees first acquittal of Jan. 6 rioter found not guilty on obstruction charge
The Justice Department saw the first acquittal of a rioter on Jan. 6 on a felony obstruction charge.
Joshua Black, of Alabama, was shot in the face by a police bullet as he stormed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. Court documents show him with blood on the side of his face while in the Senate chamber. He then allegedly recorded videos on YouTube with blood still on his face, recounting what happened.
“I had accomplished my goal. I collected the blood of Jesus on the Senate floor. You know, I glorified the name of Jesus on the Senate floor,” Black said in a video, according to an FBI statement. “That was my intention. I think that was God’s intention.”
After a weeklong trial, Black was ultimately acquitted of obstruction of justice — a felony that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years, Politico reported. U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that Black had a “unique concern in his mind,” making it difficult to determine whether he knew he was breaking the law.
JAN. 6 THE TRIAL FOR NATIONAL CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE PROUD BOYS BEGINS IN THE THIRD DOJ CASE, BRINGING ACCUSATIONS DURING THE CIVIL WAR
Joshua Black was seen on the Senate floor on January 6, 2021 wearing a red hat, camouflage jacket and yellow gloves. Blood can be seen on his face after being shot by a police bullet in the Capitol. (Department of Justice)
The judge said prosecutors failed to prove that Black’s intent was to disrupt Congress — or even that Black was familiar with the congressional proceedings that took place that day to certify Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump. Jackson argued that some evidence even suggested that Black thought the certification of the election had been completed by the time he reached the Capitol.
Joshua Black shared videos on YouTube recounting his experience entering the Capitol and the Senate, according to the FBI. (Department of Justice)
Black was convicted of other charges related to the Jan. 6 riot, including disorderly conduct in a restricted building while carrying a dangerous weapon. This is a crime that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years. Court documents say Black admitted in a YouTube video to carrying a knife that day. “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 there’s no way I’m going to be vulnerable.” , he said.
Supporters of former President Donald Trump gather on the second anniversary of the US Capitol riots in Washington DC on January 6, 2023. (Celal Gunes/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Axios reported that Black is the first Jan. 6 defendant to reach the Senate to be acquitted of obstruction of justice. His sentencing on the other charges is set for May 5.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
As of January 3, 2023, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said more than 950 defendants have been arrested in nearly all 50 states and the District of Columbia in connection with the January 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol. This includes more than 284 defendants who have been charged with assault, resisting or obstructing officers or employees.
Danielle Wallace is a reporter for Fox News Digital covering politics, crime, police and more. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @danimwallace.