Memphis man charged in U.S. Capitol raid
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A second Tennessee man has been arrested and charged with taking part in the raid at the U.S. Capitol last week, federal authorities said Friday.
Matthew Bledsoe, of Memphis, has been charged with illegally entering or remaining in a restricted building, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, the U.S. Justice Department said in a complaint and arrest warrant.
Federal prosecutors said Bledsoe was one of scores of people who forced their way into the Capitol as Congress gathered to certify the votes in the November presidential election, won by Democratic President-elect Joe Biden. The raid at the Capitol came after a rally led by Republican President Donald Trump in which he repeated false claims of a stolen election and urged his supporters to “fight like hell.”
The warrant said FBI agents received a tip that Bledsoe had been part of the group that breached the Capitol illegally. 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 an exterior door of the Capitol, 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,” as he utters profanities.
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.
Online court records do not show if Bledsoe had a lawyer to speak on his behalf about the charges. Tennessee records list Bledsoe as a principal of a Memphis moving company. A voicemail left on the company’s phone was not immediately returned Friday. Authorities did not release Bledsoe’s age.
Five people died in connection with the Capitol riot. About 120 people have been charged, including a man from Nashville.