Home / National News / Capitol Hill Gyrocopter Pilot Douglas Hughes Pleads Not Guilty


(WASHINGTON) — Douglas Hughes, the pilot and activist who shocked the country when he landed his gyrocopter on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., last month entered a not guilty plea in court on Thursday to all six charges pending against him, including two felonies.

The charges range from piloting without proper license to violating national defense airspace.

The judge lifted home detention, allowing him to travel within his home county of Hillsborough County, Florida. He will retain his ankle bracelet with GPS to track him. In addition, he may not be in Washington, except for court appearances and meeting with his lawyer. He also may not operate an aircraft and must stay away from the White House and Capitol.

Hughes was supported in the courtroom by several activists sympathetic to his call to get money out of politics.

Hughes told reporters outside, “I accept the consequences of what I did, because I believe it is critical that we return our democracy to the people.”

Both Hughes and his lawyer referred to the landing as “civil disobedience.”

He said he is not eager for jail time and would consider a plea.

“I will never do anything like this again,” he said. “But I would not do anything different.”

Hughes was presented with a stamp featuring his photo by activists from the group Code Pink whose representatives call Hughes “an American hero.”

He is next due in court at on May 27 for a status hearing.

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