Florida postal worker Doug Hughes declared to Newsmax TV
on Wednesday that he would continue underscoring the influence of big money in politics despite his indictment on six federal charges for landing a gyrocopter at the U.S. Capitol last month.
"I'm just getting started," Hughes defiantly told "The Hard Line" host Ed Berliner not long after U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia announced that he had been indicted on charges carrying more than nine years in prison. "I am getting the word out.
"People are getting the message. People like you are asking the right questions — and voters who are fed up with the system are finding out that there are solutions, and all they have to do is sign on."
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Federal prosecutors said that Hughes, 61, of Ruskin, Florida, had been indicted for landing on the West Lawn of the Capitol on April 15. He took off from Gettysburg, Pa., had flew through miles of some of the nation's most restricted airspace.
Hughes has said that his flight was intended to call attention to big money in politics. The move also led to a congressional hearing and exposed a gap in ensuring the safety of buildings in the city.
He is scheduled to appear Thursday in federal court in Washington. Hughes said he plans to make a statement after his court appearance. He remains on home detention in Florida.
The charges include two felonies: operating as an airman without an airman's certificate and violating aircraft registration requirements. The charges carry a maximum of three years in prison.
He also faces three misdemeanor offenses of violating national defense airspace, each carrying a maximum of one year in prison.
Hughes, who had worked as a postal carrier, is also charged with a misdemeanor count of operating a vehicle falsely labeled as postal carrier. The tail section of Hughes' gyrocopter carried a Postal Service logo. That charge carries a maximum of six months in prison.
The charges also carry fines. The indictment says that if he is convicted of one or both of the felonies, prosecutors will ask that a judge order him to forfeit the gyrocopter.
Though Hughes told Berliner that he disagreed with the charges, "It's just one more step in the process.
"I indicated that I accepted the consequences when I went in," he added. "I knew there would legal repercussions.
"I don't agree with what has been handed down. If you take into consideration that there's no property damage, there was no injury, there was never any intent to do any injury — and my intent was simply to change the system so that Congress is working for the people instead of the special interests.
"While I don't think it's appropriate that I should walk, I don't think nine-and-a-half years in jail is appropriate either," Hughes said.
And he believes that he can get a fair jury trial.
"As I go across the political spectrum, I find nothing but agreement," he told Berliner. "I'm not saying everybody agrees, but this isn't a left issue or a right issue. People understand that."
Despite the protest, Hughes said that he alone cannot "save" democracy in the United States.
"The American people can save democracy. The voter is the only political body with authority over Congress. So, I'm not going to save democracy, the American people are."
He's helping the cause by "pointing people in the right direction," Hughes said. "The organizations already exist. A Constitutional amendment has been written that would cover it" and other laws are being proposed in Congress.
"Getting things done is going to involve the American voters understanding how to join and what they can do."
These changes would level the playing field and root out corruption in American government, he told Berliner.
"I'm not talking about either political party. I'm talking about everybody plays by the same set of rules — and the basic rule regarding congressional corruption is where the money is coming from.
"If Congress can't take money from anybody except the American people when they're running for office, while they're in office, or after they get out of office — if it looks even a little bit funny — then these people are going to work for us all the time," Hughes said.
"Nobody will go to Washington to get rich. They'll go to Washington to do a job."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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