Capitol defendants

The attorney representing Brian P. McCreary, of North Adams, at left wearing a blue mask while holding a cellphone, says that McCreary is sorry for his involvement in the events at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6 that shook the nation. McCreary has struck a plea deal with prosecutors who agreed to drop felony charges in exchange for pleading guilty to a misdemeanor offense. 

A North Adams man arrested for entering the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6 has struck a deal with prosecutors that will have him plead guilty to a misdemeanor offense, according to his attorney and court documents.

Brian P. McCreary, 33, has informed the government that he plans to accept a plea agreement prosecutors offered to him July 26.

Court documents show that McCreary submitted a signed plea agreement to the government Sept. 3, and his attorney, Jeffrey Denner, said the disposition will become official after a hearing that will take place in October.

The government agreed to drop four charges that prosecutors brought against McCreary in exchange for him pleading guilty to a single misdemeanor offense of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, Denner said.

Federal guidelines call for a presumptive sentence of zero to six months in prison, and Denner said McCreary has no previous criminal convictions.

Denner said McCreary, who in statements to The Eagle said he got caught up in the moment when a crowd rioted at the seat of Congress, is sorry for his involvement in the events that shook the nation that winter day.

“He got involved in a series of events; he’s very apologetic about what happened, and he’s pleading guilty to what he believes he’s guilty of. He regrets his judgment,” Denner said.

McCreary told the FBI that he went to what he called the “rally” at the Capitol “because he was frustrated with the results of the 2020 Presidential election, specifically the fact that an audit was not performed to address allegations of mass voter fraud,” according to a complaint filed by FBI Special Agent Emily Eckert.

McCreary, who acknowledged in interviews with the FBI that he entered the building, told The Eagle he felt compelled to document what rioters were doing — and, in the process, he was photographed alongside Jacob Chansley, the high-profile Capitol defendant who became known as the “QAnon shaman.”

The FBI said that “McCreary stated he directed people inside the building not to harm police officers or commit any acts of violence. McCreary further stated that he understood going into the building ‘might not have been legal’ but ‘he made a personal choice at that point.’”

In a February email, McCreary called his “story” that of being “for the most part, a bystander” and “in the wrong place at the right time.” The day after the riot, according to the federal criminal complaint, McCreary reported through an online portal to authorities that he “noticed the instigators call for action early on ... and decided to follow them in order to record.”

McCreary shared his video footage with federal authorities, court documents show. The footage he shared was shot inside and outside the Capitol building, and it included “rioting on the Capitol steps, a mob of people rushing the doors of the U.S. Capitol, a mob of people breaking down doors and windows of the U.S. Capitol, and multiple videos showing confrontations between rioters and uniformed police officers inside the U.S. Capitol,” the complaint says.

Denner said that the forthcoming guilty plea “certainly is the end of Mr. McCreary’s semi-career in journalism.”

“I think the misdemeanor accurately reflects the nature of his conduct; he did not participate in any of the violent actions, he simply went somewhere he wasn’t supposed to go and was observing. He was simply observing what was going on,” Denner said. “He was not somebody that was acting out in any way. He got caught up in the moment.”

McCreary will be sentenced in the next two to three months, he said.

Prosecutors initially charged McCreary with three counts of “violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds” and two counts of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority.

Amanda Burke can be reached at aburke@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6296.

Cops and Courts Reporter

Amanda Burke is Cops and Courts Reporter for The Berkshire Eagle. An Ithaca, New York native, she previously worked at The Herald News of Fall River and the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise.