Home Tennessee man pleads guilty to felony charge for actions in Jan. 6 Capitol breach

Tennessee man pleads guilty to felony charge for actions in Jan. 6 Capitol breach

Crystal Graham
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(© Daniel – stock.adobe.com)

A Tennessee man pleaded guilty to a felony charge for his actions during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, according to a news release from the Department of Justice.

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.

Ronnie Presley, 43, of Bethpage, Tenn., pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia to interfering with a law enforcement officer during a civil disorder. According to court documents, on Jan. 6, Presley and other rioters illegally entered the Capitol Building through the upper West terrace doorway at approximately 2:35 p.m.

Presley then moved to the rotunda, shouting “Fight for this!”

At about 3 p.m., multiple law enforcement officers attempted to clear the rotunda of rioters, including Presley. Presley, however, disregarded verbal commands from the officers to leave.

At 3:08 p.m., he physically confronted one officer by leaning into the officer’s baton.

Several minutes later, Presley left the Capitol building through the East rotunda doorway. However, he remained directly outside. When a police officer attempted to clear that area of rioters, at approximately 3:45 p.m., Presley grabbed and pulled on a police riot shield.

Presley was arrested in Nashville on March 5, 2021.

A sentencing date has not yet been set.

Presley faces a statutory maximum of five years in prison and potential financial penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Justice Department’s National Security Division are prosecuting the case, with valuable assistance provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee.

The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Memphis field office and its Nashville resident agency, and the FBI’s Washington field office, which identified Presley as #173 in its seeking information photos. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department.

In the 18 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 850 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 260 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing.

Anyone with tips may call (800) CALL-FBI (225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.


Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.