WASHINGTON — A Texas man accused of threatening Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez entered a guilty plea Monday morning to the final two of 11 criminal counts against him stemming from the Capitol riot.
Garret Miller, of Richardson, Texas, was arrested last year and indicted on 12 counts, including felony counts of obstruction of an official proceeding, assaulting, resisting or impeding police and transmitting interstate threats. U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols dismissed the obstruction count against Miller earlier this year. Miller had been scheduled to begin a bench trial Thursday on the remaining counts.
Instead, Miller entered a plea of guilty to three felony counts of civil disorder and six other misdemeanor counts for entering the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6.
Prosecutors initially said they had failed to reach a “meeting of the minds” with Miller’s attorney, F. Clinton Broden, on the two remaining felony counts of assaulting, resisting or impeding police and transmitting an interstate threat against Ocasio-Cortez. Broden, a Dallas-based criminal defense attorney and former assistant federal public defender, provided Nichols with a stipulation Miller had agreed to admitting to a misdemeanor version of the assault charge. Prosecutors, however, said they believed they could prove Miller forcibly resisted officers in an attempt to commit another felony – which is, itself, a felony.
After a brief bench trial Friday, Miller indicated his interest in pleading guilty to the remaining counts. On Monday morning, Nichols accepted his plea to both, including the count for making a threat. During his plea colloquy, Miller said when he tweeted "Assassinate AOC" at the congresswoman he intended it to be perceived as a "serious threat of violence."
Nichols set sentencing in the case for Feb. 22 at 2 p.m. Broden said he expected to ask for a sentence of time served since, by the hearing date, Miller will have served more than two years in pretrial detention.
According to an affidavit filed in January 2021, Miller was identified in part through a selfie he posted inside the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6. When another user commented approvingly that he’d made it inside, Miller responded, “Just wanted to incriminate myself a little lol.”
Investigators found surveillance footage appearing to show Miller among a crowd that pushed past officers to enter the building through the Columbus Doors. They also found another Facebook comment from him describing hi decision to enter the building.
“We where [sic] going in… No matter what,” Miller wrote. “Decided before the trump speech… I charged the back gates myself with an anti masker.”
Miller was also charged with threatening a member of Congress for a reply he sent to a Jan. 6 Twitter post from Ocasio-Cortez reading “Impeach.” Miller responded: “Assassinate AOC.”
Days later, Miller wrote on Instagram about the fatal shooting of Ashli Babbitt: “We going to get a hold of [the USCP officer] and hug his neck with a nice rope.” Miller also said he had a rope in his bag while he was at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Miller’s guilty plea came the same day the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments on a request from the Justice Department to overturn Nichols’ decision to dismiss a charge for obstructing the joint session of Congress against Miller and two other defendants. Nichols previously ruled defendants must have taken some action with respect to a “document, record or other object” to be charged with obstruction of an official proceeding. No other judges on the D.C. District Court have adopted his reasoning.
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