Evidence in US Capitol Breach Could Support Sedition Charges: Federal Prosecutor
March 22, 2021 2:38 am
Tags: Crime and Incidents, Michael Sherwin, National Security, Social Issues, U.S. capitol breach, US, US News
Categories: Crime and Incidents Epoch Times JoshWho News Michael Sherwin National Security Social Issues U.S. capitol breach US US News
Evidence that federal investigators have collected amid their criminal probe into the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol could result in sedition charges, the federal prosecutor who is leading the investigation said in a recent interview.
Michael Sherwin, the former acting U.S. attorney in Washington, told CBS News’s 60 Minutes that the evidence obtained by federal investigators so far would likely allow the federal government to prove cases of sedition against some individuals.
Under federal law, sedition includes a conspiracy to overthrow the U.S. government, or to oppose the authority by force, or prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States. These charges carry a penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment.
“I personally believe the evidence is trending towards that, and probably meets those elements,” Sherwin said. “I believe the facts do support those charges. And I think that, as we go forward, more facts will support that.”
Sherwin said in January that he had ordered a strike force of very senior national security prosecutors and public corruption prosecutors to “build seditious and conspiracy charges related to the most heinous acts that occurred in the Capitol.”
So far, none of the more than 400 cases the Justice Department opened in relation to the Jan. 6 breach have charged sedition. But a small portion of the defendants have been charged with conspiracy, including individuals affiliated with militia groups such as the “Oath Keepers.”
Sherwin said of those 400 defendants, over 80 percent of the individuals were charged with trespassing on the U.S. Capitol, while about 100 individuals have been charged with assaulting federal and local police officers.
A group of rioters and protesters, many waving American and Trump flags, illegally stormed the Capitol building on Jan. 6. The mayhem on the grounds left at least five people dead, including a police officer and Trump supporter, and dozens of police officers injured.
Sherwin also shared that he witnessed the breach as it was unfolding. He said he had dressed up in running clothes and joined the crowd at former President Donald Trump’s rally that day to “gauge the temperature of the crowd.”
“It was like a carnival environment. People were selling shirts, popcorn, cotton candy, I saw hot dogs. As the morning progressed, I noticed though there were some people that weren’t the typical, like, carnival-type people. I noticed there were some people in tactical gear. They were tacked up with Kevlar vests. They had the military helmets on. Those individuals, I noticed, left the speeches early,” he said.
Sherwin followed those individuals and began noticing that they were “getting more riled up.”
“Where it was initially pro-Trump, it digressed to anti-government, anti-Congress, anti-institutional. And then I eventually saw people climbing the scaffolding. The scaffolding was being set up for the inauguration. When I saw people climbing up the scaffolding, hanging from it, hanging flags, I was like, ‘This is going bad fast,’” he said.
He said the federal investigators are probing every aspect of the breach, including whether Trump had a role in the incident.
Sherwin has been overseeing the Capitol riot investigation from the start as the acting U.S. attorney in Washington. He stepped down from the role on Friday following a transition of the investigation to the new acting U.S. Attorney Channing Phillips and has returned to Miami.
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