WASHINGTON (FOX 5DC) – A year ago, pro-Trump rioters stormed the US Capitol, disrupting Congress’s obligation to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election. Numerous laws were broken that day, triggering the largest criminal investigation in US history.
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705 people have been charged in connection with the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021. The suspects come from nearly every state in the country, and they are overwhelmingly male with 614 men to 91 women, according to the George University program Washington on extremism.
172 people have pleaded guilty, mostly to minor offences. A few received prison sentences, including Florida’s Robert Palmer, who was sentenced to more than five years for assaulting police officers.
Palmer sprayed a fire extinguisher at the officers and threw the canister at them. Before being sentenced, Palmer wrote a letter to his judge expressing his regret and understanding that Trump had lied to his supporters.
Capitol Riot: Looking Back at the Year Since the January 6 Uprising
“I had no idea they were the tyrannical ones desperate to retain power at all costs,” Palmer wrote, “even creating the chaos they knew would come with such rhetoric.”
A year into the investigation, the Justice Department and the FBI still have a long way to go.
“It’s too early in the process to get a full picture of January 6,” says Seamus Hughes of GWU’s Extremism Programme. “If you look at the convictions so far, they’re minor offences. Trespassing, taking selfies in the Senate rotunda, that sort of thing. It’s going to be probation, 30 days, 60 days. The most more complex, the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys, they’re looking at much longer sentences, so I wouldn’t consider the opening sentences as an indicator of where January 6 is heading. end date. The FBI is still working on cases on the weekends, they’re still looking for 250 people.
The first trial in any Capitol Riot case is scheduled to begin in February, but it could be pushed back due to complications with COVID-19.
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17 members and associates of the Oath Keepers are charged with conspiracy and are due to stand trial in April.
Processing these cases has not been easy as the sheer volume has strained DOJ resources. Prosecutors have also been criticized for being too lenient with some defendants.
“On the one hand, it’s a crowd, so everyone counts,” says Lawfare editor Roger Parloff. “Everyone there is helping to invade the police and prevent them from doing their job, so there’s culpability. But on the other hand, it’s just not something judges or even prosecutors want to put people in jail.”
It remains to be seen what will become of former President Donald Trump. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a speech Wednesday that “the actions we have taken so far will not be the last.”