Federal prosecutors have requested a 21-day sentence for a Rhode Island man charged for his involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the US Capitol, according to documents filed in federal court last week.
William B. Cotton, 53, of Hopkinton, R.I., pleaded guilty in June to one count of “parading, demonstrating, and picketing in a Capitol building.” The government agreed to drop three other charges as part of the agreement. Cotton is scheduled to be arraigned on Friday, WPRI reported.
The government is recommending 21 days of incarceration for Cotton, and $500 in restitution, according to the sentencing memorandum filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Cotton participated in the insurrection, where five people died in the attack or in its immediate aftermath, and scores more were injured, including at least 140 members of law enforcement who were harassed, beaten, and sprayed with gas substances. Federal authorities have arrested hundreds of people in connection with the probe.
Cotton spent approximately 24 minutes walking through multiple areas of the building, and has “no remorse for his actions,” prosecutors wrote. Cotton told the FBI that his case “doesn’t really mean that much” to him because “it’s a misdemeanor,” prosecutors wrote in court documents.
The Jan. 6, 2021, attacks interrupted Congress’s certification of the 2020 Electoral College vote count, and threatened the peaceful transfer of power after the presidential election. The riot resulted in more than $2.9 million in losses, court documents said.
Cotton traveled from Rhode Island to Maryland on Jan. 5, 2021, with plans to attend the “Stop the Steal” rally the following day, prosecutors said. After the rally, he marched with a crowd to the US Capitol, and climbed a set of stairs at the West Front of the building. He entered through the Senate Wing door just before 3 p.m. Cotton left the building about 24 minutes after entering.
After the attacks, Cotton told investigators he did not remember going inside the Capitol, but identified himself in a video that showed him inside the building. Cotton was arrested in December 2022, and initially charged in federal court with entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly conduct in a Capitol building or grounds; and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building,” the FBI said.
Cotton agreed to a plea deal in June, and is facing one of the four charges.