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Mercer County man pleads guilty to obstructing Congress during Capitol breach

Rick Bowmer
More than 700 people have been charged with offenses related to the Jan. 6 breach of the Capitol by an angry mob that sought to disrupt the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory following a rally by then-President Donald Trump.

A Mercer County man pleaded guilty Friday in federal court to obstructing Congress and other charges after admitting he entered the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack to disrupt lawmakers while they counted electoral votes from the presidential election.

According to court documents, Matthew Perna, 37, of Sharpsville, admitted entering the Capitol that afternoon after barriers set up by law enforcement were breached. He remained inside the building in the Senate Wing Lobby for approximately 20 minutes.

While in the building, Perna filmed and chanted with the crowd and later posted an eight-minute video to his Facebook account in which he said, “It’s not over, trust me,” according to court records.

Perna pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia to a felony charge of obstruction of Congress and three related misdemeanor charges. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 3.

Charges remain pending against a co-defendant, Stephen Ayres, 39, of Warren, Ohio.