US Capitol gyrocopter pilot facing more than nine years in prison

Doug Hughes, shown flying his gyrocopter in this March 2015 file photo, is facing six charges that carry up to 9 1/2 years in prison after he landed his gyrocopter at the U.S. Capitol on April 15. (James Borchuck/Tampa Bay Times via AP file)

WASHINGTON (AP) – A Florida man who piloted a gyrocopter through miles of America’s most restricted airspace before landing at the U.S. Capitol is now facing charges that carry up to 9½ years in prison.

The U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Columbia said Wednesday in a statement that a grand jury has indicted Douglas Hughes on six charges. He is scheduled to appear Thursday in federal court in Washington.

Hughes, who took off from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, was arrested April 15 after he landed on the Capitol’s West Lawn. Hughes has said his flight was intended to call attention to the influence of big money in politics. The stunt also led to a congressional hearing and exposed a gap in ensuring the safety of buildings in the city.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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