SC’s Andrew Hatley likely first in state to plead guilty in Jan. 6 Capitol riot

·3 min read

A South Carolina man who admitted he participated in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol building riots is set to plead guilty, according to court documents filed this week.

Andrew Hatley, the first South Carolinian to be charged in connection to the riot, is scheduled for a plea hearing in a Washington D.C. federal court on Sept. 14, according to a motion filed Monday by Hatley’s attorney, Joseph Conte, of Washington.

Hatley’s plea will likely make him the first South Carolinian to plead guilty.

Hatley is one of more than 500 people facing charges arising from the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, where a pro-Trump mob broke through police ranks and stormed into the building and the U.S. House and Senate chambers as Congress was set to confirm Electoral College votes marking now-President Joe Biden the winner.

Their aim, according to law enforcement and their own statements, was to stop the scheduled formal certification of Biden.

The cases of all people arrested in the Jan. 6 riot are being handled through the U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington.

Hatley, who was first charged in January, initially faced four federal criminal charges for his alleged involvement in the riot, which happened after then-President Donald Trump spoke to thousands of his supporters outside of the White House in the wake of his election loss. Trump was later impeached by the Democrat-controlled House for his involvement in the incident.

Hatley’s charges include uttering threatening, or abusive language, or engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct in the Capitol or on the grounds with the intent to impede, disrupt, or disturb the orderly conduct of a session of Congress or either House of Congress.

He’s also charged with engaging in disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in the Capitol buildings.

In a plea, government prosecutors usually dismiss some charges and allow a defendant to plead guilty to reduced charges, which makes a defendant eligible for a reduced sentence. Court documents gave no hint as to which charges Hatley would plead guilty, or what sentence they would carry.

In the initial charging documents filed against Hatley, the FBI said its agents had photos of the South Carolinian inside the Capitol on Jan. 6. Those pictures were provided to them by a tipster who was sent the photos by Hatley. One of the photos showed Hatley with a statue of John C. Calhoun, a South Carolinian who served as vice president, located in the crypt of the Capitol. Calhoun was one of the pre-Civil War South’s most vocal supporters of slavery.

The FBI complaint also said Hatley shared his geolocation with another friend using the app Life360. The app showed that Hatley’s cell phone was in the Capitol during the riot, according to the complaint.

In all, at least eight South Carolinians have been linked by prosecutors to the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

The Charleston Post and Courier first reported Hatley’s plea agreement.

This story will be updated.

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