Doug Hughes, the Florida postal worker who last month piloted a gyrocopter onto the lawn of the U.S. Capitol in protest of money in politics, was charged with two felonies and three misdemeanors late Wednesday.
USA Today reported
the felony charges were operating an aircraft without a license and flying an unregistered aircraft. The three misdemeanors were related to violating national defense airspace. Hughes was also charged with one count of improperly using the logo for the U.S. Postal Service, which he appended to his gyrocopter.
Hughes, 61, now faces the possibility of spending up to 9.5 years in prison.
His act of civil disobedience has won adulations from hundreds of people who sent him letters of support, while The Washington Post ran an op-ed by him in which he advocated for campaign finance reform, Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig thanked him for his "service," and PR firm ReThink Media has provided him pro-bono help to promote his cause. The night before he made his flight, he stayed at the home of a Code Pink co-founder.
When he landed on Congress' lawn, the Baby Boomer was carrying 535 letters about campaign-finance reform he intended to hand out to all 535 representatives.
"I am more convinced than ever that I did the right thing," Hughes said in a Wednesday evening interview with the Tampa Bay Times
He said he expects to strike a plea deal for the charges, and noted that his flight injured no one and destroyed no property.
"How is that worth 9 ½ years?" he said. "I think the prosecutor has an uphill battle."
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