Judge questions whether Jan. 6 rioters are treated unfairly

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Rejecting prosecutors’ recommendation, a federal judge on Friday sentenced January 6 rioters to probation and suggested that those arrested during anti-racism protests following the killing of George Floyd were more likely to storm the Capitol than those arrested. But the Justice Department was being very strict. .

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U.S. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden questions why federal prosecutors haven’t brought more cases against those accused at the 2020 summer protests, reading data on rioting cases in the nation’s capital. .

McFadden said during the sentencing of Danielle Doyle for entering the Capitol with other rioters on January 6, “I think the credibility of the American lawyer will be greater if he is in his concern about the riots and mobs in this city. ” Prosecutors recommended two months of home imprisonment.


McFadden’s statement, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, was a major departure from other federal judges overseeing rebellion cases so far, despite other Trump appointments to the court having assigned hundreds of cases. They have generally discussed the seriousness of the crime and its unique place in American history – different from other violent free speech protests as it sought to disrupt the peaceful transition of power.

The Associated Press analyzed more than 300 criminal cases stemming from the protests sparked by Floyd’s murder, showing that many left-wing rioters had received substantial sentences, refuting the argument that Black Lives Matter with pro-Trump defendants. The protesters were treated more harshly than they were.

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As McFadden sentenced Doyle, she said she felt she was “acting like all those robbers and rioters last year. That’s because the robbers and rioters decided the law wouldn’t apply to them.”

Despite these concerns, McFadden said Doyle’s behavior was unforgivable. He called it a “national embarrassment”, and compared it to protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd last year, which “made us all feel less safe.”

In contrast, U.S. District Judge James Bosberg on Friday sentenced another rioter, Andrew Ryan Bennett, to three months of domestic imprisonment, accepting a request from prosecutors. Bennett was accused of spying conspiracy theories about the election and used “hateful rhetoric” in posting about his plans to be in Washington. The mob attacked and beat an overwhelmed police force on January 6, sent lawmakers for their lives and caused more than $1 billion in damage to the building.

“As I have said before, I cannot stress enough that the cornerstone of our democratic republic is the peaceful transfer of power after the election,” the judge told Bennett. “And what you and others did on January 6 was nothing less than an attempt to undermine the system of that government.”

Earlier this week, Bosberg, appointed by former President Barack Obama, sentenced Derek Jenkart and Ohio friends Eric Rau to 45 days in prison.

All three men had pleaded guilty to misdemeanor punishment for a maximum sentence of six months. Like Jenkart and Rau, Bennett was not personally charged with involvement in the violence or destruction of property.

Bennett said he wasn’t thinking clearly and was “pumped on adrenaline” when he joined the crowd that stormed the Capitol that morning after driving to Washington from his home in Columbia, Maryland.

“What I did was wrong and I hold myself responsible for my actions that day,” he said.

Doyle was also not charged with mob violence. She climbed through a broken window and spent 24 minutes inside the building. She told the judge that she had no intention of harming anyone, and was sorry that the peaceful rally turned into chaos when people started entering the building.

“I love this country,” she said. “So many people came here to represent the things that were important to us but in the blink of an eye, all those things were overshadowed,” she said. “I’m sorry for that, because it overshadowed the things that were good.”

Meanwhile, a retired US Special Forces soldier and one-time Florida congressional candidate was arrested for his role in the rebellion. Jeremy Brown was charged with a misdemeanor charge of entering a restricted base. FBI officers obtained photos of Brown in tactical gear at the Capitol from an acquaintance of Brown’s, and a rioter who pleaded guilty also confirmed to agents that Brown was there, according to court papers. He has said that federal officials called him and tried to inform others.

Brown ran for Congress in 2020 as a Republican in the 14th district, which includes Tampa and the surrounding area, but dropped out of the race in March 2020.


Kunzelman reported from College Park, MD.

Credit: www.independent.co.uk / George Floyd

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