Jan. 6 rioter acquitted of obstruction charge, found guilty on five other charges

"I praised the name of Jesus on the Senate floor. That was my goal. I think that was God's goal," Black said.

Updated: January 15, 2023 - 10:01am

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A federal court judge acquitted Jan. 6 defendant Joshua Black, an Alabama man who said he entered the Senate floor in order to "plead the blood of Jesus," of an obstruction charge related to the Capitol riot.

Black, 46, is the first Jan. 6 defendant who made it to the Senate floor to be acquitted of the federal charge of obstruction of justice, Politico reported. He was found guilty Friday of five other charges related to Jan. 6, including three weapons-related charges.

U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson said after a weeklong bench trial that Black had a "unique stew in his mind," leaving her unsure whether the defendant was aware his actions were illegal.

Prosecutors must prove that a defendant had "corrupt" intentions to secure a conviction for an obstruction charge, but the government did not present evidence that Black, who claimed he was absolving the Senate of evil spirits, even knew Congress was voting to certify the 2020 election on Jan. 6, 2021. 

After the riot, Black posted a video to YouTube in which he discussed entering the Capitol and the Senate chamber on Jan. 6, court documents show

"We just wanted to get inside the building. I wanted to get inside the building so I could plead the blood of Jesus over it. That was my goal," he said in the video. He also admitted in the video that he carried a knife for self-defense into the Capitol. 

He said he was successful in his mission. "I had accomplished my goal. I pled the blood of Jesus on the Senate floor. You know, I praised the name of Jesus on the Senate floor. That was my goal. I think that was God's goal," Black said.

He has a sentencing hearing on May 5, 2023.