According to prosecutors’ description of the footage, McHugh allegedly shouted, “You guys like protecting pedophiles?” “you’re protecting communists,” “I’d be shaking in your little s–t boots too,” and, “there is a Second Amendment behind us, what are you going to do then?”
His comments about “pedophiles” are particularly striking, considering his criminal history.
McHugh was convicted in 2010 on a state charge of unlawful sex with a minor, according to California court records reviewed by CNN and lawyers involved in McHugh’s cases. McHugh was sentenced to 240 days in jail — though he served less — and got four years of probation.
There was DNA evidence that connected McHugh to the girl, former prosecutor Todd Kuhnen told CNN. The victim was 14 years old and McHugh was 23 when the crime occurred, Kuhnen said. The victim also alleged that she was intoxicated when the incident occurred.
McHugh pleaded no contest to the underage sex charge. Kuhnen said he didn’t take the case to trial because he didn’t want to “run the victim through the wringer again,” and said that the victim and her mother signed off to the plea agreement as part of California’s victims’ rights law.
Role in the riot
Prosecutors allege that McHugh used a megaphone to incite other rioters outside the Capitol by calling on the crowd to advance on a police line. As the rioters grew more hostile, McHugh allegedly grabbed a large metal Trump sign and urged the mob to push it into the officers.
He has been in jail since his May 27 arrest, a federal judge in the Eastern District of California ruled Tuesday that he should be detained before trial because he poses a threat to the public. His lawyers said in a court filing Thursday that they’ll try again to secure his release.
“I don’t think he should be detained,” said Lexi Negin, a public defender who represented McHugh at his initial court appearances in Sacramento, California. “He’s been out for five months… he has been working and living his life. Nothing is going on. To hold someone as a danger or risk of flight under those circumstances is completely against the Constitution.”
Negin said she is not aware of any information connecting McHugh to the QAnon movement.
At the time of the riot, McHugh was on probation for misdemeanor convictions for driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license, according to federal court documents.
At least 460 Americans from 44 states and Washington, DC, have been charged in the attack.