Photo credit: Colin Lloyd
An Olive Branch man was sentenced Friday, Oct. 21 to 48 months in prison on felony and misdemeanor offenses for his actions during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach. His actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election.
Matthew Bledsoe, 38, of Olive Branch was found guilty by a jury in the District of Columbia on July 21, 2022, of the felony offense of obstruction of an official proceeding, and four misdemeanor offenses, including entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a Capitol Building; disorderly conduct in a Capitol Building, and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol Building.
According to the government’s evidence, in the days immediately following the Nov. 3, 2020, election, Bledsoe began posting to social media about the presidential election.
On Jan. 6, 2021, he attended a rally near the Ellipse. Bledsoe then headed to the Capitol, and illegally entered the Capitol grounds shortly after 2:13 p.m. He then moved to the Capitol Building itself. He scaled a wall at the Upper Northwest Terrace and entered through a fire door at the Senate Wing. He climbed a statue and was outside the corridor to the House Chamber and hallways near the Speaker’s Lobby. He left the building about 2:47 p.m., after approximately 22 minutes inside.
Within two hours, however, Bledsoe returned, lingering outside the East Rotunda Doors as law enforcement officers worked to secure the building and grounds.
In the days following the riot, Bledsoe continued to message with friends and family and post on social media regarding what happened on Jan. 6. For example, on Jan. 7, he posted on Facebook photos of Members of Congress taking cover and security officers defending the Members during the riot. One caption read, “How corrupt politicians should feel.”
Bledsoe was arrested on Jan. 13, 2021. Following his prison term, he will be placed on three years of supervised release. He also must pay $2,000 in restitution and a fine of $2,000.
The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee and the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division.
The case was investigated by the FBI’s Memphis Field Office. Valuable assistance was provided by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, the U.S. Capitol Police, and the Metropolitan Police Department.