UPDATE: What is happening with Doug Hughes?
No good deed goes unpunished. American hero Doug Hughes is in Washington D.C. this week for a federal court hearing on his April 15th act of civil disobedience. Hughes landed on the Capitol lawn in a gyrocopter to personally deliver 535 letters, one for each Member of Congress, which urged campaign finance reform in order to get the corrupting influence of money out of politics.
Back in Washington for a Monday morning status hearing at the federal courthouse, Florida mailman Douglas Hughes showed no fear about going to trial for his April 15 gyrocopter flight to the West Front.
“I don’t think I should be doing hard jail time for a flight that brought attention to corruption in Congress,” the 61-year-old said, speaking to reporters on a sidewalk blocks from the Capitol.
House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and others suggested Hughes should have been shot out of the sky, and immediately turned their attention to security loopholes his lightweight aircraft allegedly exposed.
But those seeking to curb the influence of big money in politics have tried to steer the conversation toward the two-page letter Hughes tried to transport. It decried the revolving door between Congress and K Street, the influence of rich donors and the cozy relationship between corporate interests and members. When author Joe Lane traveled from Connecticut to make a June 10 delivery of 535 copies of the letter, Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., greeted his arrival with a campaign finance bill, which now has 17 co-sponsors.
— Hannah Hess, Roll Call
Hughes rejected a plea deal that offered him a reduced number of years in prison.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A man who flew a gyrocopter through some of America’s most restricted airspace before landing outside the U.S. Capitol said Monday that he’s rejected a plea deal that would have involved several years in prison.
Douglas Hughes spoke after a status hearing in federal court in Washington. He declined to give specifics of ongoing negotiations but said that if prosecutors continue to insist on “significant hard jail time,” his case will go to trial.
Hughes said spending several years in prison doesn’t seem fair because nobody was hurt and there was no property damage during his April 15 flight in the bare-bones aircraft. He said his flight was an act of civil disobedience intended to call attention to the influence of big money in politics.
“My position is: No jail time is justified in an act that’s only intended to bring the attention of the media and the voter to the corruption of our federal government,” Hughes said after the hearing.
— Jessica Gresko, The Associated Press, WFLA
If only we still had Jimmy Stewart to play Hughes in the movie!