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Tag: capitol riot prosecutions

Capitol Rioter Who Brought Gun On January 6 Said He Was Hunting Pelosi

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham and others on the far-right have been accusing Democrats of exaggerating the violence that occurred when Donald Trump supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6. And they have dismissed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's January 6 select committee as overblown political theater. But according to Politico, 56-year-old Indiana resident Mark Mazza — one of the defendants charged with bringing a gun to the Capitol that day — has implied to investigators that he would have committed violence against Pelosi had he been able to get to her.

Politico's Kyle Cheney reports, "An Indiana man charged with carrying a loaded firearm to the Capitol on January 6 told investigators that if he had found Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 'you'd be here for another reason,' according to court documents posted over the weekend. Mark Mazza, 56, is the latest of about half a dozen January 6 defendants charged with bringing a gun to the Capitol. In this case, Mazza allegedly carried a Taurus revolver known as 'The Judge,' which is capable of firing shotgun shells — two of which were in the chamber, along with three hollow-point bullets. A Capitol Police sergeant obtained the weapon after allegedly fending off an assault from Mazza."

On March 29, according to Cheney, two investigators from the Capitol Police went to Mazza's home in Shelbyville, Indiana, where he told them, "I thought Nan and I would hit it off. I was glad I didn't because you'd be here for another reason. And I told my kids that if they show up, I'm surrendering. Nope, they can have me, because I may go down a hero."

Former President Trump has tried to paint the Capitol rioters as largely nonviolent, but Cheney points out that in fact, a variety of things were used as weapons on January 6.

"The mounting evidence has undercut claims by former President Donald Trump and his allies that the mob attacking the Capitol was unarmed," Cheney notes. "In addition to the growing number of firearms authorities suspect were carried onto Capitol grounds, rioters brought knives, axes, batons, tasers, bats, poles and even a crutch and hockey stick. Others stole police shields and used metal barricades and furniture as makeshift weapons. But Mazza's case is the most clear-cut yet of a loaded firearm on Capitol grounds that day."

Cheney continues, "Prosecutors obtained the gun from the alleged assailant himself and used its serial number to trace it back to him. They located Mazza after learning that on January 8, Mazza himself reported the gun stolen to local authorities. He told the Shelbyville police that it was taken from his car on January 5 while he was driving through Ohio. Mazza's report was entered into a national database, which Capitol Police accessed as they attempted to find the gun's owner."

'You Were Gullible': Senior Judge Torches Trump Election Lies At Rioter's Hearing

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

Although former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Al Gore both lost presidential elections, there are some crucial differences between their responses to their losses. Gore, in 2000, eventually conceded defeat to then Texas-Gov. George W. Bush and congratulated him on his victory; Trump, however, still doesn't admit that now-President Joe Biden defeated him in 2020. And Senior District Judge Reggie Walton noted, in blunt terms, that Gore/Trump contrast when Capitol rioter Adam Johnson appeared in his courtroom this week for a plea hearing.

Johnson, one of the many Trump supporters who invaded the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6 in the hope of stopping Congress from certifying Biden's Electoral College victory, bought into Trump's false, debunked claims of widespread voter fraud.

Walton told Johnson, "Al Gore had a better case to argue than Mr. Trump, but he was a man about what happened to him. He accepted it and walked away."

Following the 2000 presidential election, Gore questioned the election results in Florida. Gore went weeks without conceding, but some prominent Democrats urged him to concede for the good of the country — including former Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell, who had become chairman of the Democratic National Committee and later became a two-term governor of Pennsylvania. Gore eventually took Rendell's advice, congratulated the president-elect and conceded to Bush, who was sworn in as president on January 20, 2001.

Republican Dick Cheney was sworn in as vice president that day, and his arch-conservative daughter, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, has become a scathing Trump critic on the right. Cheney is part of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's select committee on the January 6 insurrection.

When various Democrats, in 2001 and 2002, asked Gore if he believed that he really won Florida, the former vice president would emphatically state: George W. Bush is president of the United States, I lost the election. End of discussion. And Walton, a Bush appointee, made it clear to Johnson that he has a lot more respect for Gore than he does for Trump. Walton essentially called Trump a sore loser and called Johnson a sucker for believing him.

The judge told Johnson, "What concerns me, sir, is that you were gullible enough to come to Washington, D.C. from Florida based on a lie, and the person who inspired you to do what you do is still making those statements, and my concern is that you are gullible enough to do it again."Another key difference between Gore and Trump: Gore won the popular vote in 2000 even though he lost the electoral vote, whereas Trump lost both.

Johnson was in Walton's courtroom to plead guilty to a charge of being on restricted grounds illegally, which is a lesser charge than what he was originally looking at. According to CNN reporters Hannah Rabinowitz and Holmes Lybrand, "Johnson was originally charged with three federal crimes, including theft of government property, but those charges will be dropped as part of his plea deal. He could face a sentence of up to six months in prison, according to his agreement with prosecutors read at his plea hearing on Monday. He will also pay $500 in restitution for damage done to the Capitol during the riot."

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Oath Keepers Conspiracy Trial Delayed By Massive Stack Of Evidence

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

The federal judge overseeing the Oath Keepers conspiracy case in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection ordered their trial delayed this week, primarily because of the overwhelming amount of evidence still being produced in their cases. Though the delay was expected, its reasons are stark reminders that January 6 will be one of the most complex prosecutions in history and that the investigation remains very active as more evidence piles up. There are likely some very big shoes still to drop.

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FBI Releases New Video Showing Extreme Violence At January 6 Insurrection

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Nine months after one of the most violent days in the history of our country, investigations are still ongoing as more than 670 people have been charged with involvement in the January 6 Capitol insurrection. Despite the overwhelming amount of evidence depicting the violence of the day, some officials are continuing to play dumb and ignore the brutality that occurred.
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Capitol Police Officer Arrested For Aiding January 6 Rioter

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

On Friday, U.S. Capitol Police officer Michael A. Riley was arrested and indicted on obstruction of justice charges connected to the January 6 insurrection. The Associated Press reports that the 50-year-old Riley is accused of "tipping off someone who participated in the riot by telling them to remove posts from Facebook that had showed the person inside the Capitol."

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Poll: Most Americans Favor Prosecuting Capitol Rioters With Tough Penalties

A nationwide poll shows broad support for prosecuting rioters involved in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, but almost half of respondents said they expected penalties would be too lax. According to the poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, 69 percent said it was “very important" for federal authorities to arrest and prosecute those responsible for the insurrection. Support for prosecuting the rioters was strongest among Democrats, 86 percent of whom said it was very important. Even so, a total of 79 percent of Republicans supported prosecution as either very important or somewhat important. However, a n...

New Photos Indicate Oath Keepers Prepared To Enter Capitol With Weapons

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

A local Virginia news outlet is publishing previously unseen photos taken by staff in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6. The images reportedly show a group of men "loitering near the Marine Corps War Memorial," with a view of the Capitol building. According to the report, the men stood around a small parking area, their SUVs and out-of-state plates conspicuous enough that Arlington County police were notified by passersby of their presence. According to ARLnow.com, which published the images, one of the pickup trucks in the parking area where the men loitered was left running with a "large toolbox in the back."

According to the Arlington County police, an officer was sent to look into the reports of "9-10 males acting suspiciously and looking around on the Iwo Jima War Memorial property" at 4 pm that day. According to a spokesperson for the police department, "nothing was located and the call was cleared." ARLnow points to far-right militia groups and prosecutors' filings against various Oath Keeper suspects who have been arrested and charged in the Capitol insurgency. Specifically highlighted is a memo against Oath Keeper leader Edward Caldwell that details an elaborate "quick reaction force" (QRF) of militia men who were to stay outside awaiting orders and could bring "the tools if something goes to hell"inside the Capitol, "that way the boys don't have to try to schelp [sic] weps on the bus." According to the prosecutors' filings, these individuals were potentially waiting outside, ready with weapons to bring into the Capitol.

On Friday, Washington Post reporter Rachel Weiner, who is covering legal cases in Alexandria, reported on Oath Keeper leader Jessica Watkins of Woodstock, Ohio, and other militia member cases:

Judge is now asking whether there really was a "quick reaction force" stationed outside D.C. with weapons for militia members' use on Jan. 6. Prosecutor: "That is our understanding." And after that tantalizing detail, they are moving off the record.

This comes after Proud Boy members tried out the legal defense of, "Whoops, we didn't know we were breaking the law," or, "Whoops, we thought Donald Trump was telling us the truth," or, "Whoops, we didn't think we could get arrested for breaking the law." Watkins in particular tried to renounce her involvement in the Oath Keepers and say she was finished playing seditionist, so could she go home and pretend none of this happened? U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta was not having any of that. Maybe this selection from the prosecutors' court filings is why:

The next day, Watkins exchanged text messages with Co-defendant Thomas Caldwell about the operational plans for January 6, 2021. This included coordinating about where and when to meet and where to stay. Operational plans also contemplated the possession and use of weapons in D.C. before and on January 6. Caldwell referenced "a quick reaction force [QRF] [that would be]bringing the tools if something goes to hell. That way the boys don't have to try to schelp weps on the bus." Watkins previously stated that the QRF provided ready access to guns during operations. As she explained to a contact when preparing to attend a November election fraud rally in Washington D.C., QRF was designed so that "If it gets bad, they QRF to us with weapons for us," but that, otherwise, "[w]e can have mace, tasers, or night sticks. QRF staged, armed, with our weapons, outside the city" and advised "to be prepared to fight hand to hand" while "guys outside DC with guns, await orders to enter DC under permission from Trump, not a minute sooner." Watkins's own operational role extended well beyond providing medical aid. As she explained to a recruit, "I'm no doctor. I'm a soldier. A medic with a rifle, maybe, but a solider. I will hurt/kill those who try to hurt/kill me or others."

Like most of the Oath Keepers and other militia members being arrested and charged right now, the defense being employed amounts to, "Hey, we're full of shit, and we thought this would work but it didn't so how about we pretend we didn't do it." Hopefully the photos that ARLnow reporter Jay Westcott took are helpful in bringing more justice against fascists.