Before sentencing a Kentucky man with a long criminal record to 14 years in prison for attacking police with pepper spray and a chair, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta chastised him for spreading “the lie that what’s happening here in Washington, D.C., is unfair and unjust.”
“You are not a political prisoner,” Obama-nominated Mehta told Peter Schwartz. “You’re not Alexei Navalny,” the judge told the imprisoned Russian opposition leader. “You're not fighting injustice or an autocratic regime. You took the day into your own hands, just as you have used your hands against people for most of your life.
Lamberth criticized James Little, a North Carolina man who pled guilty to a misdemeanor. Little was not charged with any violence or destruction during the conflict. Judge Lamberth did not name anyone involved for “shameless” attempts to distort history. But Trump has strongly allied with rioters during his presidential campaign. He labeled them “hostages,” demanded their release from jail, and promised to pardon most of them if he wins presidential election in November.
About 750 federal riot defendants have pled guilty, and over 100 have been convicted. Most rioters were prosecuted with misdemeanors like trespassing, while some were charged with assault or seditious conspiracy. The Associated Press found that two-thirds of those condemned have served time in jail, ranging from a few days of intermittent detention to 22 years.
Lamberth originally sentenced Little to 60 days in prison and three years of probation in 2022. However, Washington's federal appeals court ruled that Little could not be sentenced to jail and probation. Lamberth sentenced Little to 150 days with credit for time served in jail and on probation after hearing his allegations of persecution and attempts to minimize the Jan. 6 attack.
“Little cannot bring himself to admit that he did the wrong thing, although he came close today,” Judge Lamberth wrote. “So the court must tell the public that Mr. Little and others who broke the law on Jan. 6 were wrong. The court does not expect its statements to stop misinformation. But I believe a little truth goes far.
Sometimes judges say their punishment must send a message when rioters claim they are unfairly persecuted for their political opinions. Richard “Bigo” Barnett, the Arkansas man who put his feet on a desk in then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office in a widely circulated photo, seemed to enjoy the notoriety of being one of the faces of the Jan. 6 attack, according to U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper
“You have made yourself one of the faces of J6 not just through that photo but using your platform and your notoriety to peddle the misconception that you and other J6ers are somehow political prisoners who are being persecuted for your beliefs as opposed to your conduct on Jan. 6,” Cooper, an Obama appointee, told Barnett before sentencing him to over four years
“To all those folks that follow Bigo, they need to know that the actions of Jan. 6 cannot be repeated without serious repercussions,” the judge added.
STAY TURNED FOR DEVELOPMENT