Cleveland Meredith Jr. Sentenced to 28 Months for Threat to Shoot Nancy Pelosi in the Head

A man who threatened to shoot House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on live television the day after the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection was sentenced Tuesday to two years and four months in prison. Cleveland Meredith Jr. traveled to Washington with guns and texted his uncle on Jan. 7 while staying in a hotel near the Capitol, saying that he was thinking about going to Pelosi's speech and "putting a bullet in her noggin on Live TV."

He was planning to attend former President Donald Trump's rally the day before, but was delayed by a car breakdown and arrived after the riot ended. Meredith's uncle grew concerned about his comments in the Jan. 7 text, which also described Pelosi using a misogynistic term, and contacted his mother.

His mother, troubled by his extremist posts on social media and mental health difficulties, notified the FBI. When agents found Meredith in the hotel, they also discovered thousands of ammunition rounds, a handgun and an assault rifle in his trailer, CNN reported.

He pleaded guilty in September to sending threatening communications. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson dismissed suggestions that his statements were just a joke, saying that they "cannot be erased by adding LOL on the end."

She added that it wasn't the only concerning comment he made.

North Carolina Man Sentenced
A North Carolina man who came to Washington armed with guns and threatened to shoot House Speaker Nancy Pelosi the day after the Jan. 6 riot was sentenced to more than two years in prison. Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington on Dec. 2, 2021. J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

Meredith, who has been jailed for the last 11 months, tearfully said he was out of control the day after the riot, expressed embarrassment over his arrest and offered an apology to Pelosi. "I know what I did was wrong," said the 53-year-old Meredith, who lives in Hayesville, North Carolina.

Approximately 700 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the riot at the U.S. Capitol. About 150 of them have pleaded guilty. More than 20 defendants have been sentenced to jail or prison terms or to time already served behind bars. Over a dozen others received home-confinement sentences.

Meredith brought a handgun and a military style rifle to Washington, bragged in a text about having thousands of rounds of armor-piercing bullets, profanely said "Burn DC" to the ground when a friend told him the Capitol had been breached and sent a text saying he was going to collect the heads of traitors.

The day after the riot, Meredith used misogynistic language when referring to Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser and said he may go to her office to shoot her. He is accused of head-butting and punching a person who was in a vehicle that was blocking his truck. And he said he thought he was going to run over Pelosi, Jackson said.

Meredith's lawyers argued there was no serious intent for Meredith to follow through on the threats, noting he sent the messages to family and friends.

Family members say Meredith was immersed in the QAnon movement, which is centered on the baseless belief that Trump was fighting a cabal of Satan-worshipping, child sex trafficking cannibals.

The judge said the mental health problems in Meredith's life were present before President Joe Biden won office or QAnon emerged. She said Meredith previously had been involved in assaults and a road rage incident.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Man Who Threatened Pelosi Sentenced
Cleveland Meredith Jr. traveled to Washington with guns and texted his uncle on Jan. 7 while staying in a hotel near the Capitol that he was thinking about going to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's speech and "putting a bullet in her noggin on Live TV." Pelosi, D-Calif., holds a news conference after presiding over House passage of President Joe Biden's expansive social and environment bill, at the Capitol in Washington on Nov. 19, 2021. J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo