Washington — A Republican-appointed judge warned a North Carolina man sentenced to jail for his involvement in the U.S. Capitol riot that portraying the mob of Donald Trump supporters as heroes and downplaying the violence on Jan. 6, 2021, threatens the nation.
U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth disapproved of Trump and Republican allies calling Jan. 6 defendants “political prisoners” and “hostages.” Lamberth also blasted attempts to discredit the legal system for prosecuting Capitol invaders.
“In my 37 years on the bench, I cannot recall a time when such meritless justifications of criminal activity have gone mainstream,” Reagan appointee Lamberth stated in a recent case. The court said he "fears that such destructive, misguided rhetoric could presage further danger to our country."
While Trump considers pardoning rioters if he returns to the White House, judges overseeing more than 1,200 Jan. 6 criminal cases in Washington's federal court are trying to correct misperceptions about a live TV attack. Many defendants are delivering belligerent remarks in court, echoing Trump's phony electoral claims, and posing as patriotic.
The judge sentenced Proud Boys member Marc Bru to six years in jail after Bru insulted and interrupted him during a court hearing. “You can give me 100 years and I'd do it all over again,” Bru stated. At least two more protesters screamed “Trump won!” in court following their penalty. Riot defendants hoping for a Trump win in November.
Rachel Marie Powell, a Pennsylvania woman condemned to almost five years for destroying a Capitol glass, told CNN that the 2024 presidential election is “like life or death” for her. If Trump is elected, she expects to be released from prison.
Strangers who give to Jan. 6 defendant's internet campaigns like the speech, but judges don't. Judges chosen by presidents from both parties have called the unrest an insult to democracy and chastised defendants for not displaying contrition or playing victim.
Judges have viewed hours of film of the mob angrily surging past overwhelmed policemen, breaking windows, hitting police with flagpoles and pepper spray, and threatening politicians for nearly three years. Officers have testified that they were assaulted, intimidated, and in danger while defending the Capitol.
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