Saturday, January 23, 2021

US prosecutors consider sedition charges for Capitol rioters

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A US prosecutor said pro-Trump rioters who stormed the US Capitol could face charges of sedition and conspiracy in an “unprecedented” investigation, as lawmakers have expressed deep concern over the continuing security threats.

Michael Sherwin, the acting US attorney for the District of Columbia, said on Tuesday that the entire Capitol building was being treated as “a crime scene” and that he expected “hundreds” of people be charged with criminal offenses.

“The range of cases we are looking at is truly mind-boggling,” said Mr. Sherwin, who said the potential charges ranged from theft of national security information to murder.

So far, more than 70 people have been charged with the violence in Washington last week, Sherwin said. Authorities have identified around 170 people they are investigating for potential crimes.

Mr Sherwin told Tuesday’s press conference that he expected people to be “shocked” when more details of what exactly happened inside the Capitol building were revealed. revealed.

“As the days go by, there will be more social media, and people will realize that [the Metropolitan police] and the Capitol police were openly fighting with some of those people inside the Capitol, ”he said.

As federal law enforcement works to tighten security ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration, Democratic chairmen of several major House committees have issued a joint statement saying they have “serious concerns. regarding continuing and violent threats to our democracy ”after being briefed by the FBI on continuing threats against the Capitol.

“It is clear that more needs to be done to prevent, penetrate and prevent the murderous and seditious assaults of domestic violent extremists in the days to come,” wrote key lawmakers, including Adam Schiff, Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, and Bennie Thompson , chairman of the internal security committee.

The US Department of Justice has already announced federal charges against people suspected of carrying illegal firearms in the assault on Capitol Hill, including a man who allegedly had 11 Molotov cocktails in his van.

On Tuesday, the DoJ announced that it had arrested and charged a Chicago man for threatening violence during Mr. Biden’s inauguration. Prosecutors alleged he left a voicemail message for a congressman in which he threatened Mr. Biden and any Democrats who walked on the White House lawn.

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