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Now to the broader question: Is the Pontius Pilate recorded in the Gospels equivalent to the Pontius Pilate known to history? Critics say no, and we shall let the Still voice the chief objection:
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Pilate disliked (perhaps even hated) his subjects, and he probably liked to annoy them. He, like many Romans, disliked the Jews and their customs - and this is a key, in our view, to understanding what actually happened. The Gospel Pilate IS the same as the Philo Pilate and the Josephus Pilate - we have simply read the wrong thing into the records of the evangelists.
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From here, all four Gospels go to the choice between Jesus and Barabbas; that too shall be covered in a separate section. But now to our reconstruction.
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And so we conclude: We must let the secular histories interpret the Gospels for Pilate's case. It is natural for us to "root for" Pilate as he "tries to set Jesus free" - but this is not what is happening at all. I submit, again, that we have been reading the Gospels askew, and further, that the evangelists did indeed know what was going on. It is only the modern reader, Christian and Skeptic alike, who being unaware of political machinations and having distance from the subjects has given Pilate a character that he never had and that the Gospel writers, though perhaps grateful to Pilate for ANY chance for the freedom of Jesus, never intended.
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I think that this is one of the keys to understanding the politics behind the prosecution of Jesus - and the WHY of Pilate's supposedly "strange" behavior. Whatever the source, the point to keep in mind is: THIS WAS A "PAID CROWD" - a stacked deck, an arranged demonstration - and Pilate was most assuredly aware of this. Let this be kept in mind as we proceed now to that subject.