News and Commentary

Many Arrested For January 6 Capitol Riot Won’t Get Prison Time

   DailyWire.com
Members of the National Guard walk near the US Capitol Building on Capitol Hill March 3, 2021, in Washington, DC.
ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images

Many of the people who were arrested and charged for the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol won’t receive jail time, because despite media and prosecutors insisting the incident was a “siege” or an “insurrection,” it was not.

Politico reported that a quarter of those who have been already charged face only misdemeanors, most for trespassing. From Politico:

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.

Erica Hashimoto, a Georgetown University law professor and former federal public defender, told the outlet that she believes most cases relating to the January 6 riot “will get resolved and probably without prison time or jail time.”

“One of the core values of this country is that we can protest if we disagree with our government. Of course, some protests involve criminal acts, but as long as the people who are trying to express their view do not engage in violence, misdemeanors may be more appropriate than felonies,” she said. As Politico noted, the Biden administration faces a challenge when it comes to the riot, as President Joe Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland characterized the incident as amounting to a coup. Prior to being inaugurated, Biden said riot “borders on sedition,” while Garland has said it was “a heinous attack that sought to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy, the peaceful transfer of power to a newly elected government.”

Just last week, federal prosecutor Michael Sherwin told “60 Minutes” that he was looking to charge some of the rioters with sedition charges.
“I believe the facts do support those charges. And I think that, as we go forward, more facts will support that,” Sherwin told CBS.

As The Daily Wire’s Tim Pearce previously reported, Sherwin also said during that interview that former President Donald Trump could face charges related to the January 6 riot. Trump gave a speech that day, telling his supporters to march “over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta, who is overseeing the charges against some of the protesters, criticized Sherwin and anonymous Justice Department officials for discussing the case with the media.

“I found it troubling that sources within the Department of Justice were detailing the possibility of additional charges in a pending criminal case and an ongoing criminal investigation,” Mehta said, according to Reuters. He added: “this case will not be tried in the media.”

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