The Washington Post

Man pleads guilty to Pelosi threat

Defendant in Capitol riot probe wrote of putting ‘a bullet in her noggin’

- BY SPENCER S. HSU spencer.hsu@washpost.com

A man who drove from Colorado to D.C. on Jan. 6 with a pistol, a rifle and 2,500 rounds of ammunition in his truck pleaded guilty Friday to threatenin­g in a text message to shoot House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D- Calif.) in the head.

Cleveland Meredith Jr., 53, originally from Atlanta, planned to arrive in Washington on Jan. 5 to attend rallies supporting thenPresid­ent Donald Trump’s unfounded claims of election fraud, but car trouble delayed his arrival until rioting at the U.S. Capitol ended the following day, he said in plea papers.

At his Southwest Washington hotel near the National Mall on Jan. 7, he texted a relative: “Thinking about heading over to Pelosi . . . speech and putting a bullet in her noggin on Live TV,” followed by a purple devil emoji, Meredith admitted.

Meredith never got near Pelosi, but when the relative alerted Meredith’s mother and she contacted police, they found him at his hotel, and carrying in his trailer a 9mm Glock 19 pistol, a semiautoma­tic U.S. variant of an Israeli army standard-issue rifle, 2,500 rounds and 10 large-capacity ammunition feeding devices, he admitted.

“Do you admit sending the text then that you were thinking of heading over to Pelosi’s speech and quote ‘put a bullet in her noggin’ on live TV’ close-quote?” U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson of Washington asked in a plea hearing.

“Yes, your honor, I said that then,” Meredith said, although he described his words as “political hyperbole.”

Meredith pleaded guilty to one count of interstate communicat­ion of threats, punishable by up to five years in prison, and prosecutor­s agreed to drop three D.C. weapons registrati­on charges.

Arrested Jan. 7, he remains in custody pending sentencing.

In a plea deal with prosecutor­s, Meredith faces a potential advisory federal sentencing range of either six to 12 months or 18 to 24 months in prison, depending on whether the government argues and the judge agrees that there is evidence he could have been able to carry out his threat.

Although Meredith was not at the Capitol, he was investigat­ed as part of the federal investigat­ion into the attack by angry Trump supporters who breached police lines, broke into the building and forced the evacuation of lawmakers meeting to certify the results of the 2020 presidenti­al election.

He is the 65th of about 600 defendants charged to plead guilty in the investigat­ion.

Separately Friday, a different judge in Washington denied the presentenc­ing release of “Qanon Shaman” Jacob Anthony Chansley, who pleaded guilty Sept. 3 to felony obstructio­n of Congress after being photograph­ed on the Senate dais in horns, a fur-lined headdress and red-white-andblue face paint.

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