(NEW YORK) — Joshua James, 34, of Arab, Alabama, pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy charges on Wednesday as part of deal with prosecutors contingent on his cooperation with the U.S. government in their ongoing prosecution of defendants who were involved in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The plea deal is the first of its kind for a Jan. 6 defendant and comes nearly a year after James was charged with impeding and obstructing Congress’ affirmation of the Electoral College vote in the 2020 presidential election.
The seditious conspiracy charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and was the most serious to date brought by federal prosecutors in the nearly 14 months since the riot at the Capitol.
The 10 other alleged Oath Keepers’ members charged in the seditious conspiracy plot, including the group’s founder Stewart Rhodes, have pleaded not guilty to all charges against them.
Lawyers for James did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.
According to the indictment, James was a leader of a second ‘stack’ of Oath Keepers who breached the building through the east side.
He is accused of forcing his way past law enforcement who were trying to guard the Capitol Rotunda and shouting at them to “get out” of “my Capitol.” He later “violently” pulled and pushed his way past officers who were forced to deploy chemical spray at him and Minuta.
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