The first sentence has been handed down to someone involved in the January 6 Capitol riot, setting the stage for disappointment among those expecting jail time and harsh sentences for those who participated in the event.
Anna Morgan-Lloyd, 49, from Indiana, was sentenced to probation and assessed a $500 fine after she pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor for trespassing, CNN reported. Federal Judge Royce Lamberth said Morgan-Lloyd avoided up to six months in jail because she wasn’t involved in any of the violence that took place on January 6 and condemned those who were.
“Some of these defendants are not going to do what you did. They’re not going to say they did anything wrong. They, to this day, would still participate in the demonstration,” Lamberth said, according to CNN. “… I don’t want to create the impression that probation is the automatic outcome here, because it’s not going to be.”
Lamberth also took the opportunity to take a shot at unnamed Republicans who he said were downplaying the events of January 6.
“I don’t know what planet they were on,” Lamberth said, without naming a single GOP lawmaker. He added that videos from the incident “will show the attempt of some congressman to rewrite history that these were tourists walking through the capitol is utter nonsense.”
Lamberth also showed his support for left-wing media by praising their coverage of the riot, adding that it “wasn’t a peaceful demonstration… it wasn’t an accident that it turned violent.”
So far, nearly 500 people have been charged in the January 6 riot, with seven so far pleading guilty. The Department of Justice is trying to go hard on the rioters even though many of the charges are for misdemeanors like trespassing. Politico reported in late March that it is likely many involved in the incident won’t see jail time:
A POLITICO analysis of the Capitol riot-related cases shows that almost a quarter of the more than 230 defendants formally and publicly charged so far face only misdemeanors. Dozens of those arrested are awaiting formal charges, even as new cases are being unsealed nearly every day.
In recent days, judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys have all indicated that they expect few of these “MAGA tourists” to face harsh sentences.
There are two main reasons: Although prosecutors have loaded up their charging documents with language about the existential threat of the insurrection to the republic, the actions of many of the individual rioters often boiled down to trespassing. And judges have wrestled with how aggressively to lump those cases in with those of the more sinister suspects.
Meanwhile, prosecutors in New York City are dropping looting and burglary charges against those who destroyed businesses during Black Lives Matter riots.
NBC News reported that prosecutors in the Bronx and Manhattan have decided to drop burglary and looting charges against hundreds of rioters, angering store owners who had their businesses destroyed.
“I was in total shock that everything is being brushed off to the side,” Jessica Betancourt, whose eyeglass shop was one of the businesses looted, told NBC.
The outlet reported that a review of New York Police Department data show a large percentage of the cases against looters have been dismissed, leaving mostly convictions for the lesser charge of trespassing.