Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) pleaded guilty Thursday to one misdemeanor for falsely pulling a fire alarm in the Cannon House Office Building last month ahead of a key House vote.
A stone-faced Bowman appeared in D.C. Superior Court on Thursday for his arraignment, one day after he was charged. Under an agreement with prosecutors, he will pay a $1,000 fine and write an apology to the Capitol Police.
Under the agreement, the charge will be withdrawn in three months at a court hearing set for Jan. 29, 2024.
“How do you plead, guilty or not guilty,” asked D.C. Magistrate Judge Dorsey Jones.
“Guilty,” Bowman responded.
Bowman, who has insisted the incident was an accident, after entering his plea told reporters “I feel good” and that he is one step closer to getting the incident behind him.
“I really regret that this caused so much confusion and that people had to evacuate, and I just caused a disturbance. I hate that. It’s pretty embarrassing,” Bowman said.
The New York Democrat pulled the alarm ahead of a House vote to pass a stopgap measure to fund the government hours before a shutdown deadline.
Prosecutors at Thursday’s hearing said if the case had gone to trial, they would have shown that Bowman pulled the alarm “even though he knew at that time there was no fire or other emergency.” They also noted that, after pulling the alarm, Bowman did not tell a police officer that it was him.
The alarm caused the building to be evacuated, and Republicans accused Bowman of intentionally trying to sabotage the vote, with some even calling for Bowman’s expulsion. A group of House Republicans on Wednesday introduced a bill to censure Bowman.
“They have to do what they have to do. I’ve been cooperating from the very beginning,” Bowman said when asked what he would do if Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) calls for an ethics investigation.
The former school principal acknowledged pulling the alarm, but he described it as an accident, insisting he believed it would open a closed door as he tried to get to the vote.
“What I did was against D.C. law,” Bowman told reporters before entering the courthouse.
“I said, from the very beginning, I was not trying to disrupt any congressional proceedings. I’m glad that the investigation yielded that. And so it was against D.C. law, and I got to take responsibility for it, which I’m here to do.”
The Capitol Police said it investigated the incident and sent the case to prosecutors to consider.
Bowman said he was processed at Capitol Police headquarters earlier Thursday but declined to provide further details.
This story was updated at 10:09 a.m.