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Doug Hughes in D.C. for Federal Court Hearing

Doug Hughes landing on Capitol lawn in his gyrocopter

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.

Will Doug Hughes Do Hard Time for Embarrassing Congress?

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.

Man Who Landed Gyrocopter at the US Capitol Rejects Deal

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!

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About The Author

JoAnn Chateau

JoAnn Chateau likes progressive politics and loves the canines. She writes fiction about an alpha Bichon named Chester, and his friends--with a dash of humor and a dab of poli-sci. JoAnn worked professionally in the Psychology and Information Science fields. Retired now, she enjoys the creative life.

9 Comments

  1. ShelbyCourtland

    Reblogged this on shelbycourtland and commented:
    I don’t think he should get any jail time. He deserves a medal. And why should the White House and any airspace around it be considered, ‘restricted’? It is supposed to be the ‘peoples house’. Slaves built it and who was being considerate about their plight? If they stopped bombing the rest of the planet, they’d have nothing to fear. Even to this day, whatever TPTB deem to be a crime, it is the average American that must pay the cost for the real criminals of Wall Street and of those that walk the halls of congress. We pay for their war crimes with our tax dollars and then have big financial donors pad the pockets of those who claim to represent the American people when there is no way they can when they are beholden to a corporation since they receive bribes.

    This man should be fined and real solutions to get big money out of politics should commence!

  2. ShelbyCourtland

    I don’t think he should get any jail time. He deserves a medal. And why should the White House and any airspace around it be considered, ‘restricted’? It is supposed to be the ‘peoples house’. Slaves built it and who was being considerate about their plight? If they stopped bombing the rest of the planet, they’d have nothing to fear. Even to this day, whatever TPTB deem to be a crime, it is the average American that must pay the cost for the real criminals of Wall Street and of those that walk the halls of congress. We pay for their war crimes with our tax dollars and then have big financial donors pad the pockets of those who claim to represent the American people when there is no way they can when they are beholden to a corporation since they receive bribes.

    This man should be fined and real solutions to get big money out of politics should commence!

    Thank you for posting this one JoAnn!

    • JoAnn Chateau

      Thanks for sharing, Susan.

  3. Invisible Mikey

    I don’t think he deserves jail time either, but surely a fine, loss of job etc. is entirely appropriate. It’s restricted air space, he broke the law, and he risked other’s lives for a publicity stunt. What if he had crashed and killed a tourist? Saying no one was hurt isn’t a defense. Not a hero, just a gadfly with an inflated sense of his own importance. Nothing in his “letter” is news to the general public.

    • JoAnn Chateau

      Hughes’ lawless act was civil disobedience. It was done for the sake of our country, at great personal risk.

      Remember how some people fighting for labor unions and civil rights actually lost their lives? We don’t now call them ego-inflated gadflies.

      Saving our democracy is that important, if not more so.

      Hughes was definitely trying to reach the public with his stunt. While most people do know there is political corruption, they falsely believe there is nothing they can do about it. He was trying to show them – yes you can, and now is the time.

      Like the 84 year old nun who sabotaged the nuclear war site with graffiti, I think Hughes will get some time. But I hope he gets a quick pardon, and surely the USPS would be proud to hire him back after a leave of absence. (He’s made them look very good — totally opposite of that old term ‘postal.’ And I personally believe Hughes thoughtfulness and bravery has lifted the sorry state of Florida. (In your mind’s eye, just compare Doug Hughes with Rick Scott.)

    • tubularsock

      A “what if argument”? Come now Invisible Mikey. Dick Cheney allowed flight 77 to fly over “restricted air space” and into the Pentagon without a shoot down order and we still have to listen to that bag of shit to this day.

      This guy crossed “restricted air space” as a political statement as a citizen and NOT EVEN a tourist was hurt and you think he should be fined or maybe a loss of his job?

      Maybe he should become “TRUTH TZAR” for Obomber! There’s a “what if” for ya.

      • Invisible Mikey

        “What ifs” are a completely normal estimation of risk within laws. I’m happy no one was hurt, but someone could have been, including the pilot. The right to free speech is important, but not without restrictions. We are free to oppose Congressional actions by speaking out against them, but we aren’t free to show up on the floor of the House to do it by shouting down a debate being made by legislators.

        Do you really feel you “have to listen” to Dick Cheney? He’s free to opine, and we are free to ignore.

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