US: A year after the Capitol invasion, the ‘massive’ investigation into the case is far from complete
The hunt began as early as January 6, 2021: a team of federal agents began scrutinizing social media, analyzing videos, locating anonymous networks to find out who did what’s that day in the US Capitol.
This “huge” and “massive” project is “one of the largest investigations in the history of the FBI,” said Lorenzo Vidino, director of the Extremism Program at George Washington University.
Over the course of a year, more than 725 supporters of former US President Donald Trump have been arrested and charged with raiding and plotting to overthrow the US Congress. ratified Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election.
Almost every day new names are added to the list of accused, which is still growing: the federal police initially spoke of 800 people who took part in the invasion, but now estimates that at least 2,000 are “involved in the siege”.
The majority of the accused (87%) are white, with an average age of 39 years, “older than the usual age of extremists”, underlines Vidino, whose research center records all the persecutions carried out in the context of this research.
They come from different parts of the United States and their socioeconomic profile varies (lawyers, brokers, gardeners…), although the number of people who have some connection to the military is large, as well as those who have gone bankrupt.
Among them are members of far-right organizations, conspiracy theorists, but also ordinary supporters of Trump who were convinced by his post-election crusade.
Most are charged with minor offenses, such as trespassing or disorderly conduct, as they simply entered the Capitol and roamed inside the building.
Prosecutors appear determined to end their cases quickly with out-of-court settlements: about 165 people have already made such deals and sentences have been handed down to about 50. Most sentences are short: a young man who confessed to stealing a beer from its president’s office House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi was sentenced to 20 days in prison, which she served on weekends so she could continue working.
However, 34-year-old Jacob Chansley, whose photo of him wearing a hat with bison horns went around the world, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison. The self-proclaimed shaman of the Qanon conspiracy movement is thought to have played a central role in the invasion of the Capitol.
His lawyer, Al Watkins, denounced the fluctuations in the sentences, which he said were sending the “wrong message.” appreciates.
The heaviest sentences have just begun to be announced and concern the most serious crimes: 225 people are accused of using violence, mainly against the Capitol police.
Robert Palmer, 54, was sentenced to five years in prison for throwing, among other things, a fire extinguisher and boards at police.
About 40 of the 225 have been charged with “composition and gang”, which means they are believed to have orchestrated the attack, the most serious of which concerns members of the far-right Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and Three Percenters.
Those, many of whom have been in custody for months, are expected to stand trial by jurors. The first trial is set to begin in February. However, a group of about 30 members of the Proud Boys want to reach an agreement with the prosecutors, offering to give them information about the investigation in exchange for reduced sentences.
So far no one was able to send in the perfect solution, which is not strange.
The question that remains is what will happen to those who instigated or organized the invasion of the Capitol, but did not participate in it. Prosecutors are currently leaving it to parliament to consider the matter.
Although Republican senators acquitted Trump in February of his impeachment charge for inciting the Capitol attack, the former U.S. president is not done.
The House of Representatives has set up a committee that seeks to shed light on its role, as well as that of its close associates. If he manages to gather the necessary information to charge Trump, nothing will stop prosecutors from prosecuting him.
Source From: Capital