NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A Middle Tennessee man pleaded guilty Tuesday to a single misdemeanor charge stemming from his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Federal court documents show that Blake Austin Reed admitted he illegally entered the Capitol after rioters forced their way past police barricades and broke open a door. Reed was seen wearing a respirator mask in photos and video taken during the riot.
The Nashville builder faces up to six months in jail when sentenced, although he could also potentially be placed on probation. Other charges against him were dropped as a result of the plea agreement.
Reed agreed to the following statement of facts filed with the court:
- Blake Reed traveled from Tennessee to Washington D.C. to attend a rally protesting the election results on January 6, 2021. On December 8, 2020, prior to traveling to D.C., he posted on Facebook that he was "feeling pissed off'' and that "you will see the Republican side of this country go into anarchy stronger than 1776 ... The Republican Rebellion is coming soon!"
- Reed attended the Stop the Steal rally and then walked to the U.S. Capitol. Reed unlawfully entered the restricted Capitol grounds, arriving near the North West Scaffolding and Stairs around 2 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2021. Reed spent time in the crowd near the northwest stairs and scaffolding on the west side of the U.S. Capitol. Reed took a selfie-style photo of himself with the northwest scaffolding and the Capitol dome in the background. Around 2:09 p.m., he also observed members of the crowd attacking law enforcement as they tried to keep the crowd away from the building. Reed video recorded the attacks on law enforcement with his phone. Reed then went up to the northwest terrace by the Senate wing of the building.
- Reed entered a door to the Capitol which had been broken open by other rioters. He entered moments after his Co-Defendants Eric Chase Torrens, Jack Jesse Griffith, and Matthew Bledsoe. Reed was wearing what appears to be ski goggles and a respirator mask.
- After entering, Reed moved through Statuary Hall to the Statuary Hall Connector joining a group of rioters outside the House Chamber and taking a selfie photo with co-defendant Bledsoe. Overall, he was in the Capitol for approximately 24 minutes.
- When the defendant entered the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, it was a restricted building. The defendant knew at the time he entered the U.S. Capitol Building that he did not have lawful authority to enter the building.
- Following Jan. 6, 2021, Reed took steps to conceal evidence of his participation in the events at the Capitol. Specifically, in the days following January 6, 2021, Reed exchanged text messages with co-defendant Bledsoe regarding their crimes on Jan. 6, 2021. On Jan. 8, 2021, Reed texted Bledsoe that Reed had taken down his Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
- On Jan. 9, 2021 Reed texted Bledsoe the following: "We were PRESS documenting the event for our followers. We never obstructed anything only documented. I was never told to leave or move the area. When I was told to leave we left the area immediately as instructed. Download this and read it. [weblink omitted]°.
- On Jan. 12, 2021 Reed texted the following to Bledsoe: "Have you taken down all the pictures and videos, well at least the picture you posted of me?" in relation to the Jan. 6, 2021-related posts.
- On Jan. 16, 2021, FBI executed an arrest warrant for Blake Reed in this case and also executed a search warrant of his home. Upon the FBl's arrival to Reed's residence, they saw a handwritten note that Reed wrote to law enforcement: "Please don't break down the door. Both my dogs are inside in their kennels and are not aggressive. Please call me if you need in and I can give you the code for the garage. Thanks!"
- FBI searched the home and seized one cell phone from Reed. While there, agents noticed a charger that was plugged into the wall for a different phone that they did not find the one that Reed used on Jan. 6, 2021.
- Upon a search of Reed's seized phone, the FBI learned that it was not the phone he normally used. Upon a search of Reed's Facebook, FBI found a number of messages between Reed to one of his friends about his January 16, 2021 arrest. On Jan. 27, 2021, Reed sent a message to his friend which said: "20 FBI SWAT showed up in an armored truck Sunday morning in full tacticle [sic] gear with flashbangs and broke my front door in at 6 a.m. Lol it took him 5 hits to get the front door open because I had reinforced it so much with 3" screws." Reed's friend stated, "I figured they went through all your phones stuff and I figured they would say something to me for being in your recent messages lol." Reed responded: "All they got was a $60 go phone from Walmart."
- Reed turned over the phone that he used on Jan. 6, 2021 to the FBI following his indictment, upon request from the government. The phone had no memory card or SIM card.