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Austin man who rioted at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 pleads guilty to a felony

A melee of people, some wearing hats and masks and carrying flags.
Department of Justice
Austinite Geoffrey Shough wore a burnt orange jacket during the Capitol riots and brandished a Texas flag. The Department of Justice says he's pleaded guilty to a felony charge in exchange for cooperation in ongoing investigations into the Jan. 6 insurrection.

A 38-year-old Austin man has pleaded guilty to civil disorder for obstructing police and breaking into the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection, the Department of Justice announced.

Federal authorities said Geoffrey Shough brandished a Texas flag outside the building before breaking through a line of police and entering the Capitol for roughly 15 minutes.

A person in an orange jacket, gloves, goggles and a helmet.
Department of Justice

Shough wore body armor under a burnt orange leather coat, along with goggles and a tactical helmet emblazoned with a logo of the Oath Keepers, a right-wing militia group. Federal authorities say he'd donated to the group after the 2020 election.

Authorities arrested Shough in March after a monthslong investigation. In charging documents, investigators said he was identified by online tipsters and his ex-girlfriend, who said the two had broken up a week before the insurrection.

Shough was part of the crowd that marched on the Capitol after then-President Donald Trump's "Stop the Steal" rally. In a handful of social media videos, Shough can be seen helping other rioters over a wall near a door outside the U.S. Senate chambers.

"After the rioters overwhelmed the officers, Shough engaged in a very animated conversation with one or more of the [Capitol police] officers," the Justice Department said. "During his plea hearing, he acknowledged telling the officers that they 'should go home.'"

The DOJ said Shough accepted a plea deal in exchange for agreeing to cooperate with Jan. 6 investigations. The agency reduced the number of charges he faced from five to one. The felony charge of interfering with police during a civil disorder carries a maximum five-year prison sentence and a fine of $250,000.

Federal authorities have arrested 860 people for their alleged involvement in the Capitol riots, according to the Justice Department. So far, 260 people have been charged with interfering or assaulting police.

Shough's sentencing hearing is set for Dec. 8.

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at aweber@kut.org. Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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