More than 800 people in the US have been indicted in the January 6 riots in the US Capitol that left officers bloodied and lawmakers go into hiding, and federal authorities continue to make new arrests practically every week.
The charges against members of the pro-Trump protesters range from petty crimes for those who entered the Capitol alone to seditious conspiracy charges against far-right extremists.
It is the largest prosecution in the history of the Justice Department, whose leader, Attorney General Merrick Garland, has vowed to hold “all perpetrators of January 6, at every level” accountable.
As the US House committee investigating the attack prepares to hold a series of public hearings to discuss its findings in detail, here’s an overview of the state of the criminal case:
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WHO HAS BEEN SUBMITTED?
Authorities have arrested people in nearly all 50 states in connection with the riots. Among them are former police officers and US military veterans, a five-time Olympic swimming medalist and the son of a New York City judge.
Hundreds of people who entered but did not participate in vandalism or violence face only crimes such as Capitol pickets and disorderly conduct that require up to six months behind bars.
More than 250 people have been charged with assaulting or obstructing law enforcement officials who were trying to protect the Capitol, including more than 85 charged with using a deadly or dangerous weapon or inflicting serious bodily harm on an officer. Others have been accused of assaulting members of the media, including an Associated Press photographer, or destroying media equipment.
The most serious cases have been brought against members of two far-right extremist groups, the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys.
The leaders of both groups have been arrested and remain incarcerated while awaiting trial later this year on charges of seditious conspiracy alleging a plot to oppose the lawful transfer of presidential power by force. The rarely used Civil War-era indictment is asking for up to 20 years in prison.
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WHO HAS BEEN CONDEMNED?
More than 300 people have been charged with a range of crimes, including conspiracy and assault. Among them are three Oath Keepers who have indulged in incendiary conspiracy, collaborate with investigators, and can testify against their fellow group members at trial.
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There have been seven trials to date in the District of Columbia federal court. The first five juries convicted the rioters on all charges.
The convicts include Thomas Webster, a 20-year veteran of the New York Police Department who assaulted a cop during the riot. Webster claimed he was defending himself when he tackled the officer and grabbed his gas mask.
Jurors also dismissed the defense of an Ohio man who claimed he was only “following presidential orders” from former US President Donald Trump when he stormed the Capitol. Dustin Byron Thompson was convicted of obstructing Congress from certifying the election vote and other charges.
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A judge ruled in two other cases without a jury, in which one of the defendants was acquitted and the other partially acquitted.
U.S. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden, who was appointed by Trump, convicted Otero County, New Mexico, Commissioner Couy Griffin for illegally trespassing on the Capitol trespassing, but acquitted him of disorderly conduct.
In the other felony case, McFadden found Matthew Martin of New Mexico not guilty of charges that he illegally entered the Capitol and engaged in disorderly conduct. doors.
WHAT ABOUT THE PENALTIES?
Nearly 200 people have been convicted so far. Sentences range from probation to more than five years behind bars. About 100 people charged with lower-level crimes have avoided going to jail, although some of them have been given time under house arrest.
The longest sentence – more than five years – was given to Robert Palmer of Largo, Florida, who threw a wooden plank and shot a fire extinguisher at officers before hurling the fire extinguisher at them.
Some of the Jan. 6 defendants also reported being subject to months of solitary confinement, according to a letter sent to Washington DC from 14 Republican members of the U.S. House, Mayor Muriel Bowser.
Others who received long sentences include Jacob Chansley, the spear-carrying rioter whose horned fur hat, bare chest and face paint made him one of the more recognizable figures on the attack. Chansley, who called himself “QAnon Shaman”, was sentenced to approximately 3 1/2 years behind bars after he admitted to entering the Senate Chamber and wrote a note to Vice President Mike Pence stating, “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.”
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The two most high-profile trials, involving the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, are expected to take place this summer and fall.
Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, who was once the top boss of the Proud Boys, and four others with ties to the group, were charged Monday with seditious conspiracy charges after having previously faced other conspiracy charges. They will be on trial from 9 August.
Tarrio, who has since resigned his position as group chairman, was arrested in a separate case two days before the riots and was out of the Capitol on Jan. 6. But he is accused of helping to initiate the violent attack.
The trial of Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes and four other members and associates of the group is set for September 26. Prosecutors say the Oath Keepers colluded for weeks to try and nullify the election results and prepared for a siege by making purchases. weapons and the preparation of battle plans.
Authorities are still looking for many suspects, including the person who planted two pipe bombs outside the offices of the Republican and Democratic national committees the night before the fight.
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