Idaho man who dangled from Senate gallery pleads guilty in Capitol riot case

The man admitted that as senators were being evacuated, he forced his way past Capitol Police into the viewing area above the Senate floor.

A rioter identified as Josiah Colt hangs from the balcony in the Senate chamber on Jan. 6.Win McNamee / Getty Images

WASHINGTON — An Idaho man who was seen dangling from the Senate gallery and sitting in the chair earlier occupied by Vice President Mike Pence pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges stemming from the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

The man, Josiah Colt, 34, of Meridian, Idaho, entered the guilty plea in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., to a charge of obstructing Congress in its effort to formally count the Electoral College vote for president.

The maximum punishment is 20 years in prison, but his sentence will undoubtedly be far less severe. Court documents said he has agreed to cooperate with the FBI's investigation of the siege.

Prosecutors said Colt traveled to Washington with two other men. Both of them face separate charges.

Colt admitted that as senators were being evacuated from the chamber, he forced his way past U.S. Capitol Police into the gallery, the viewing area above the Senate floor. He climbed down from there, and a photo showing him clinging to the wall became a widely viewed image of the siege.

The FBI said he then headed to the front of the chamber and sat in the presiding officer's chair, which had earlier been where Pence led the session as the Senate president. Pence was rushed to a secure location during the riot.

A rioter and supporter of President Donald Trump moves to the floor of the Senate chamber on Jan. 6. The man was later identified as Josiah Colt.Win McNamee / Getty Images file

Court papers said that Colt bought a gas mask and a helmet before he came to Washington and that he wore them when he entered the Capitol.

More than 535 people have been arrested on charges related to the siege.