KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Knoxville man who was inside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, has pleaded guilty to one of the charges brought against him.
Federal agents raided the home of 66-year-old Cliff Meteer in August in connection to the Jan. 6 riot. He was charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building; entering and remaining on the floor of Congress; and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.
Meteer entered a guilty plea Thursday in federal court for the charge of parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building. The guilty plea states that Meteer will not be further prosecuted by the Department of Justice and the remaining charges will be dismissed at the time of sentencing.
The demonstrating in a Capitol building charge carries a maximum sentence of six months imprisonment, up to five years probation and a fine of up to $5,000. A sentencing date has been set for April.
Meteer signed a “statement of offense” as part of the agreement acknowledging the events at the Capitol that day and that he entered the building without permission.
According to the document, Meteer entered the Senate wing door just before 2:30 p.m. and walked through the Capitol building towards the House Chamber until law enforcement forcibly removed him and others through the east front door at approximately 2:55 p.m.
Documents state Meteer sent several messages through private messaging on Facebook, saying ”I was in the capital ;)” and “I was one of those idiots scaling the wall ;).”
The state of offense said Meteer refused to answer questions from FBI agents about whether he entered the Capitol building when a warrant was executed at his home. Law enforcement said 10 firearms and ammunition were found in his home during the raid.
A total of 16 Tennesseans have either pleaded guilty or face multiple charges stemming from the events of Jan. 6, ranging from civil disorder to assaulting officers and obstruction.
In an interview with WATE, Meteer called his arrest “unnecessary,” claiming, “Inside the Capitol building it was a peaceful process. I never saw anything that constituted any kind of riot.”