Capitol riot protests proceed 4 months after lethal revolt
A man breaks a window as a crowd of US President Donald Trump’s supporters storm the US Capitol in Washington on January 6, 2021.
Leah Millis | Reuters
Suspects in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol continue to be arrested as the Justice Department presses its investigation into the most significant federal violation in modern American history.
At least three supporters of former President Donald Trump were only arrested on Monday and charged with federal crimes related to the riot, according to court records.
Abram Markofski and Brandon Nelson from Wisconsin and John Douglas Wright from Ohio were arrested on Monday and charged with breaking into the Capitol.
Federal Bureau of Investigation files show that Markofski and Nelson have been investigated since shortly after a tipster contacted the FBI the day after the riot.
An indictment in Wright’s case involves four unnamed cooperating witnesses who each confirmed that he was at the Capitol on Jan. 6, based on Wright’s own posts on Facebook.
On January 16, 2021, the FBI posted Photo No. 104-AFO (“Attack on Federal Officials”) on its website and asked the public for assistance in identifying the individuals involved in the Capitol riot. Stör is in the top row on the far right.
Source: FBI | Ministry of Justice
The arrests come as federal prosecutors wrestle with the approach to the far-reaching investigation, in which more than 400 defendants are now involved.
At the end of April, prosecutors said they would indict at least 100 more people and described the investigation as “one of the largest in American history, both in terms of the number of prosecuted defendants and the nature and extent of the evidence.”
Officials have estimated that up to 800 people could have participated in efforts to forcibly prevent Congress from confirming President Joe Biden’s election victory in November, meaning that despite the large number of arrests, many of those who died on Nov. Having entered the Capitol on January 1st, will not be charged at all.
Proud boys and oath keepers
The most serious charges were brought against alleged members of the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, two right-wing groups. The Oath Guards emphasize the recruitment of military and law enforcement officers, while the Proud Boys have described themselves as “Western chauvinists”.
Prosecutors have alleged that members of the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys worked together prior to the uprising to plan the attack. In court records, they cited news from Kelly Meggs, a suspected member of the Oath Keepers, referring to an “alliance” between the two groups and apparently discussing plans for the uprising.
“We have decided to work together and solve this problem,” wrote Meggs allegedly in a post on December 19 on Facebook, quoted by investigators. In another message a few days later, Meggs allegedly wrote to an unnamed person to “wait for the sixth when we’re all in DC for the riot”.
So far, at least 25 alleged proud boys and a dozen alleged oath guards have been charged. Defense lawyers for those charged have denied there was any plan to attack the Capitol.
The majority of those arrested so far on the probe have been hit with lesser charges. More than 350 people are charged with entering or leaving a restricted building, the Justice Department said. According to a CBS News tally, more than 100 people were accused of assaulting, resisting, or interfering with an officer.
So far, one of the central legal disputes has been whether or not defendants will be forced to remain in prison while their charges are pending. In March, the Washington federal appeals court gave prosecutors a setback in a ruling that suggested that non-violent rioters should not be jailed before sentenced.
“In our view, those who actually attacked police officers and broke windows, doors and barricades, and those who supported, conspired, planned or coordinated such actions are in a different category of danger than those who fueled the violence or entered the Capitol after others cleared the way, “wrote Judge Robert Wilkins, an Obama-appointed agent, for a three-judge panel on the DC Court of Appeals.
The appeals court ruling paved the way for many alleged rioters to wait from home for the trial. This happened in connection with a case against Eric Munchel and his mother Lisa Marie Eisenhart, who were later released from prison. Munchel is allegedly the subject of viral photos of a man wearing military gear and zippered handcuffs in the Capitol.
A federal judge in Washington Tuesday ordered the release of Connecticut, 23-year-old Patrick McCaughey, who is accused of assaulting a police officer trapped in a doorway by rioters. McCaughey had been detained since mid-January.
McCaughey attorney Lindy Urso said, “We are grateful that common sense and the law take precedence over politics.”
Urso had argued that when the judge had previously denied the loan, the judge had incriminated the defense to show that McCaughey posed no escape or danger to the public, rather than incriminating prosecutors to show that it was him .
Despite the March ruling by the US Circuit Court of Appeals, lower court judges agreed with prosecutors that some protesters may be detained on January 6, despite the lack of evidence of violence. For example, last month a federal district judge in Washington ordered two suspected Proud Boys leaders to be detained pending trial.
Judge Timothy Kelly admitted that Ethan Nordean of Seattle and Joseph Biggs of Florida lacked “the usual signs of dangerousness” but wrote that the two were accused of “trying, in a sense, to steal one of our country’s crown jewels, by intervening “the peaceful transfer of power. “
Kelly wrote that the men allegedly “facilitated political violence” even though prosecutors had no evidence that they personally committed acts of violence.
Pushing for a plea agreement
Experts have said prosecutors are likely to try to convince participants to plead guilty and agree to cooperate with the investigation.
So far, only one person, Jon Ryan Schaffer, has done this. Schaffer was a member of the Oath Keepers but is not one of the 12 people allegedly belonging to the group charged with conspiracy.
Schaffer pleaded guilty to two charges last month, with a possible maximum sentence of 30 years in prison: obstructing an official process and entering and remaining in a restricted building or compound with a deadly or dangerous weapon.
In a press release announcing Schaffer’s confession of guilt, released 100 days after Jan. 6, then-incumbent Assistant Attorney General John Carlin noted the Justice Department’s progress in the investigation and said Schaffer had admitted to being a “founding member.” Lifetime of “To be the Oath Keepers.” “
“The FBI has made an average of more than four arrests a day, seven days a week since January 6,” Carlin said.