Gern Blansten said:
Gern Blansten said:
He kept making bad decisions. I feel sympathy for his family.
Gern Blansten said:
He kept making bad decisions. I feel sympathy for his family.
I would if they wrote "he kept making bad decisions" in his obituary instead of trying to make him out as some kind of martyr.
The party of personal responsibility, folks: "His community, which he loved, his country and the justice system killed his spirit and his zest for life.... The constant delays in hearings and postponements dragged out for over a year. Because of this, Matt's heart broke and his spirit died and many people are responsible for the pain he endured..... For [peacefully standing up for his beliefs], he has been persecuted by many members of his community, friends, relatives and people who had never met him."
seditious conspiracy.......First Jan. 6 defendant pleads guilty to seditious conspiracy in Capitol attack
https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2022/03/02/jan6-seditious-conspiracy-guilty-plea/ First Jan. 6 defendant pleads guilty to seditious conspiracy in Capitol attackBy Tom Jackman and Rachel WeinerMarch 02 at 6:36 PM ESTA member of the far-right Oath Keepers extremist group has become the first to admit to engaging in seditious conspiracy on Jan. 6, 2021, to keep President Biden from taking office.Joshua James, 34, of Arab, Ala., pleaded guilty in federal court in Washington on Wednesday to helping lead a group that prosecutors say sent two tactically equipped teams into the Capitol and organized a cache of weapons in a hotel just outside the city. He also pleaded guilty to one count of obstructing an official proceeding, and he may face the stiffest sentence of any Jan. 6 defendant so far, according to preliminary sentencing guidelines.As part of his plea, James agreed to cooperate with federal investigators, including testifying in front of a grand jury.James, an Army veteran who was injured fighting in Iraq, was indicted on the sedition charge in January along with 10 others, including Oath Keepers founder and leader Stewart Rhodes. James faced multiple felony counts of obstructing the formal count of the electoral college, as well as assaulting a D.C. police officer during his time inside the Capitol. He was also accused of tampering with documents to destroy his communications with other Oath Keepers. Prosecutors agreed to dismiss the charges other than the seditious conspiracy and obstruction counts. Both charges carry a maximum 20-year prison term. No defendant has yet been sentenced to a maximum term.James appeared in court virtually from Alabama; he was released on GPS monitoring in April over government objections. U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta said the sentencing guidelines for both the sedition and the obstruction charge were calculated to a range of 87 to 108 months in prison. The range is advisory, and both sides can ask for the judge to go above or below the range at sentencing.continues......
Gern Blansten said:
Hopefully this means he will take Stone down with him...
Gern Blansten said:
Hopefully this means he will take Stone down with him...
https://twitter.com/morningpleaser/status/1505158431270920198?s=21What a poster
WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday convicted an elected official from New Mexico of illegally entering restricted U.S. Capitol grounds but acquitted him of engaging in disorderly conduct during the riot that disrupted Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s presidential election victory.
U.S. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden heard one day of testimony without a jury on Monday before handing down a verdict in the misdemeanor case against Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin, a 48-year-old former rodeo rider who helped found a group called Cowboys for Trump.
McFadden, a nominee of then-President Donald Trump, said there was ample evidence that Griffin knew he was in a restricted area and didn’t leave. Griffin crossed over three walls, needing help from others or a ladder to get over them, the judge noted.
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“All of this would suggest to a normal person that perhaps you should not be entering the area,” McFadden said from the bench.
But the judge said prosecutors didn’t meet their burden to prove that Griffin engaged in disorderly conduct.
“Arguably, he was trying to calm people down, not rile them up,” he said.
Griffin’s trial in Washington, D.C., was the second among the hundreds of federal cases arising from the Jan. 6, 2021, siege. Earlier this month, in the first trial, a jury convicted a Texas man, Guy Wesley Reffitt, of storming the Capitol with a holstered handgun, interfering with police and obstructing Congress’ joint session to certify the Electoral College vote.
The outcome of Griffin’s trial could have a ripple effect, helping other Capitol riot defendants decide whether to let a judge or a jury decide their case.
But the case against Griffin is unlike most Jan. 6 cases and may not be a bellwether for defendants who are charged with storming the Capitol.
Griffin is one of the few riot defendants who wasn’t accused of entering the Capitol building or engaging in any violent or destructive behavior. His lawyers argued that he was selectively prosecuted for his political views.
Griffin was charged with two misdemeanors: entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds and disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds. Both carry maximum sentences of one year imprisonment.
Griffin is scheduled to be sentenced on June 17. He was jailed for more than two weeks after his arrest on Jan. 19, 2021.
Griffin described himself as “halfway pleased” with the split verdict and said he will continue to view his involvement in Jan. 6 as “a badge of honor.”
“I stand proud of where I'm at today and the fight that I've been in over the course of the last year-and-a-half,” he told reporters outside the courthouse.
Griffin, one of three members of the Otero County Commission in southern New Mexico, is among a handful of riot defendants who either held public office or ran for a government leadership post in the 2 1/2 years before the attack.
He is among only three riot defendants who have asked for a bench trial, in which judges decide a case without a jury. Griffin said he doesn’t regret waiving his right to a jury trial.
“If I was anywhere but Washington, D.C., I would say, ‘Go with a jury trial,’” Griffin said. ”You can’t get a fair jury trial in Washington, D.C., if you’re someone like me, a strong conservative.”
Loyola Law School professor Laurie Levenson said the conviction for entering restricted grounds helps establish for the government that the area was off limits to the public and will discourage other defendants from using similar arguments.
“This will send a message to other defendants that they are unlikely to win on a technical argument that the areas outside the Capitol were not off limits,” Levenson said.
The verdicts also may lead some defendants facing the same charges as Griffin to go to trial if they believe the judge deciding their fate has a high standard of what constitutes disorderly conduct, Levenson said. Still, Levenson said the argument wouldn’t be helpful to defendants who entered the Capitol building or committed violence on Capitol grounds.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Janani Iyengar said Griffin climbed over metal bike racks, up a plywood ramp and shouted over the crowd about his belief that the election was stolen from then-President Donald Trump.
“He was being extremely loud, climbing over barriers, engaging with the crowd,” she said in her closing arguments.
Defense attorney Nicholas Smith said the case against Griffin was “built on a series of false assumptions and premises.” Trial testimony showed Griffin went to the Capitol to support “free and fair elections,” Smith told the judge.
A key question in Griffin’s case was whether he entered a restricted area while Vice President Pence was still present on Capitol grounds, a prerequisite for the U.S. Secret Service to invoke access restrictions.
Griffin’s attorneys said in a court filing that Pence had already departed the restricted area before the earliest that Griffin could have entered it, but Secret Service inspector Lanelle Hawa testified that Pence never left the restricted area during the riot.
Hawa said agents took Pence from his office at the Capitol to a secure location at an underground loading dock on the Capitol complex. Pence remained in the loading dock location for four to five hours, until the joint session of Congress resumed on the night of Jan. 6, Hawa testified.
Smith said prosecutors apparently believe Griffin engaged in disorderly conduct by peacefully leading a prayer on the Capitol steps.
“That is offensive and wrong,” Smith told the judge during his brief opening statements.
Prosecutors didn’t give any opening statements. Their first witness was Matthew Struck, who joined Griffin at the Capitol and served as his videographer. Struck has an immunity deal with prosecutors for his testimony.
After attending Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6, Griffin and Struck walked over barriers and up a staircase to enter a stage that was under construction on the Capitol’s Lower West Terrace for Biden’s inauguration, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors played video clips that showed Griffin moving through the mob that formed outside the Capitol, where police used pepper spray to quell rioters.
“I love the smell of napalm in the air,” Griffin said in an apparent reference to a quote from the war movie “Apocalypse Now.”
After climbing over a stone wall and entering a restricted area outside the Capitol, Griffin said, “This is our house … we should all be armed,” according to prosecutors. He called it “a great day for America” and added, “The people are showing that they have had enough,” prosecutors said.
In a court filing, prosecutors called Griffin “an inflammatory provocateur and fabulist who engages in racist invective and propounds baseless conspiracy theories, including that Communist China stole the 2020 Presidential Election.”
Griffin’s attorneys say hundreds if not thousands of other people did exactly what Griffin did on Jan. 6 and haven’t been charged with any crimes.
Virginia Thomas, a conservative activist married to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, repeatedly pressed White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to pursue unrelenting efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in a series of urgent text exchanges in the critical weeks after the vote, according to copies of the messages obtained by The Washington Post and CBS News.
The messages – 29 in all – reveal an extraordinary pipeline between Virginia Thomas, who goes by Ginni, and President Donald Trump’s top aide during a period when Trump and his allies were vowing to go to the Supreme Court in an effort to negate the election results.
On Nov. 10, after news organizations had projected Joe Biden the winner based on state vote totals, Thomas wrote to Meadows: “Help This Great President stand firm, Mark!!!...You are the leader, with him, who is standing for America’s constitutional governance at the precipice. The majority knows Biden and the Left is attempting the greatest Heist of our History.”
When Meadows wrote to Thomas on Nov. 24, the White House chief of staff invoked God to describe the effort to overturn the election. “This is a fight of good versus evil,” Meadows wrote. “Evil always looks like the victor until the King of Kings triumphs. Do not grow weary in well doing. The fight continues. I have staked my career on it. Well at least my time in DC on it.”
Thomas replied: “Thank you!! Needed that! This plus a conversation with my best friend just now… I will try to keep holding on. America is worth it!”
It is unclear to whom Thomas was referring.
Virginia Thomas urged White House chief to pursue unrelenting efforts to overturn the 2020 election, texts show - The Washington Post
A true, god-loving, patriotic American. Next stop...focksnooze talking headA Jan. 6 Capitol riot suspect wanted by the FBI was granted refugee status in Belarus https://www.npr.org/2022/03/23/1088205226/evan-neumann-jan-6-insurrection-suspect-refugee-belarus-asylum?sc=18&f=1088205226
No wonder all those Watergate references of late. What is that about projection? Again?The text exchanges with Thomas that Meadows provided to the House select committee pause after Nov. 24, 2020, with an unexplained gap in correspondence. The committee received one additional message sent by Thomas to Meadows, on Jan. 10, four days after the “Stop the Steal” rally Thomas said she attended and the deadly attack on the Capitol.
Jurors have heard — and rejected — an array of excuses and arguments from the first rioters to be tried for storming the U.S. Capitol. The next jury to get a Capitol riot case could hear another novel defense this week at the trial of a retired New York City police officer.
Thomas Webster, a 20-year veteran of the NYPD, has claimed he was acting in self-defense when he tackled a police officer who was trying to protect the Capitol from a mob on Jan. 6, 2021. Webster's lawyer also has argued that he was exercising his First Amendment free speech rights when he shouted profanities at police that day.
Webster, 56, will be the fourth Capitol riot defendant to get a jury trial. Each has presented a distinct line of defense.
An Ohio man who stole a coat rack from a Capitol office testified he was “following presidential orders” from Donald Trump. An off-duty police officer from Virginia claimed he only entered the Capitol to retrieve a fellow officer. A lawyer for a Texas man who confronted Capitol police accused prosecutors of rushing to judgment against somebody prone to exaggerating.
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Those defenses didn't sway the juries at their respective trials. Collectively, a total of 36 jurors unanimously convicted the three rioters of all 17 counts in their indictments.
Webster faces the same fate if a federal judge's blistering words are any guide. U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta, who will preside over Webster's trial, has described his videotaped conduct as “among the most indefensible and reprehensible” that the judge has seen among Jan. 6 cases, with “no real defense for it.”
“You were a police officer and you should have known better,” Mehta told Webster during a bond hearing last June, according to a transcript.
But a dozen jurors, not the judge, will decide the case against Webster, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who retired from the NYPD in 2011. Jury selection is scheduled to start on Monday.
A wealth of video evidence and self-incriminating behavior by riot defendants has given prosecutors the upper hand in many cases. Mary McCord, a Georgetown University Law Center professor and former Justice Department official, said jurors often won't have to rely on witness testimony or circumstantial evidence because videos captured much of the violence and destruction on Jan. 6.
“When I was a prosecutor trying cases, I would have loved to have had cases where the entire crime was on video. That just doesn’t happen that often. But for jurors, it can be very powerful,” she said.
Webster's trial is the sixth overall. In a pair of bench trials, a different federal judge heard testimony without a jury before acquitting one defendant and partially acquitting another.
U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump nominee who acquitted Matthew Martin of all charges, said it was reasonable for the New Mexico man to believe that police allowed him to enter the Capitol. In the first bench trial, McFadden convicted New Mexico elected official Couy Griffin of illegally entering restricted Capitol grounds but acquitted him of engaging in disorderly conduct.
Stephen Saltzburg, a George Washington Law School professor and former Justice Department official, said it may be difficult for prosecutors to secure convictions against defendants who merely entered the Capitol and didn’t exhibit any violent or destructive behavior.
“I think the people with the best chances are those who say, ‘I was just there and I got swept up with everybody else.’ The government is going to have to have some way to show there’s more than that or the government will lose," Saltzburg said.
Webster brought a gun and a Marine Corps flag attached to a metal pole when he traveled alone to Washington from his home in Florida, New York, a village approximately 70 miles northwest of New York City. He wore his NYPD-issued bulletproof vest but says he left the pistol in his hotel room when he headed to the Jan. 6 rally where Trump spoke.
Police body camera video captured Webster’s confrontation outside the Capitol with a line of officers, including one identified only as “Officer N.R.” in court papers.
The unnamed Metropolitan Police Department officer described the encounter in a written statement. The officer said Webster swung the flagpole at him in a downward chopping motion, hitting a metal barricade, then charged at him with clenched fists.
“He pushed me to the ground and attempted to violently tear away my gas mask and ballistic helmet. This caused me to choke and gasp for air before another participant at the riot helped me to my feet,” the officer wrote.
The officer said he retreated behind a police line after Webster pinned him to the ground.
“His actions, attack and targeted assault caused me to fear for my life and could have easily left my wife and two small children without a husband and father,” the officer wrote.
Defense attorney James Monroe has claimed the unnamed officer gestured toward Webster, “inviting him to engage in a fight,” before reaching over a police barrier and punching Webster in his face. Webster "used that amount of force he reasonably believed necessary to protect himself" by tackling the officer to the ground, Monroe said in a court filing.
Mehta, however, said the video doesn't show Webster getting punched in the face. The judge described Webster as an instigator.
“It was his conduct that sort of broke the dam, at least in that area,” Mehta added.
Webster, now a self-employed landscaper, enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1985, was honorably discharged in 1989 and joined the NYPD in 1991. His department service included a stint on then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s private security detail.
Monroe claimed “Officer N.R.” had reached over a metal barrier and pushed a “peaceful” man who was blinded by pepper spray.
“As a former U.S. Marine and a member of law enforcement, Mr. Webster’s moral instinct was to protect the innocent,” Monroe wrote.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Hava Mirell has argued that Webster should be held to a higher standard given his professional experience.
“If he were there to protect the innocent, then he should have been fending other rioters off from the barricade, not the other way around,” Mirell said at the bond hearing.
Webster faces six counts, including assaulting, resisting or impeding an officer using a dangerous weapon. He's the first Capitol riot defendant to be tried on an assault charge. He isn't accused of entering the Capitol.
More than 780 people have been charged with riot-related federal crimes. The Justice Department says over 245 of them have been charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. More than 250 riot defendants have pleaded guilty, mostly to nonviolent misdemeanors.
Jurors convicted two rioters of interfering with officers. One of them, Thomas Robertson, was an off-duty police officer from Rocky Mount, Virginia. The other, Texas resident Guy Wesley Reffitt, also was convicted of storming the Capitol with a holstered handgun.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The former top leader of the far-right Proud Boys extremist group and other members were charged with seditious conspiracy for what federal prosecutors say was a coordinated attack on the U.S. Capitol to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory.
The latest indictment against Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, the former Proud Boys chairman, and four others linked to the group comes as the U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot prepares to begin public hearings this week to lay out its findings.
The indictment Monday alleges that the Proud Boys conspired to forcibly oppose the lawful transfer of presidential power. Tarrio and the others — Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl and Dominic Pezzola — were previously charged with different conspiracy counts.
They are scheduled to stand trial in August in Washington, D.C.'s federal court.
The seditious conspiracy charges are among the most serious filed so far, but aren't the first of their kind. Eleven members or associates of the anti-government Oath Keepers militia group, including its founder and leader Stewart Rhodes, were indicted in January on seditious conspiracy charges in a serious escalation in the largest investigation in the Justice Department’s history.
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Three Oath Keepers have already pleaded guilty to the rarely used Civil War-era charge that calls for up to 20 years in prison. The indictment alleges that the Oath Keepers and their associates prepared in the weeks leading up to Jan. 6 as if they were going to war, discussing things like weapons and training.
Tarrio, the group’s top leader, wasn’t in Washington, D.C., when the riot erupted on Jan. 6, 2021, but authorities say he helped put into motion the violence that day.
Police arrested Tarrio in Washington two days before the riot and charged him with vandalizing a Black Lives Matter banner at a historic Black church during a protest in December 2020. Tarrio was released from jail on Jan. 14 after serving his five-month sentence for that case.
An attorney for Tarrio said his client “is going to have his day in court.”
“And we intend to vigorously represent him through that process,” said Nayib Hassan.
Defense attorney Carmen Hernendez, who represents Rehl, said her client is “as innocent of these charges as the ones that had already been pending against him.”
“Seditious conspiracy requires the use of force, and he never used any force nor thought about using any force,” Hernandez said.
More than three dozen people charged in the Capitol siege have been identified by federal authorities as leaders, members or associates of the Proud Boys, whose members describe it as a politically incorrect men’s club for “Western chauvinists.”
They have brawled with antifascist activists at rallies and protests. Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes, who founded the Proud Boys in 2016, sued the Southern Poverty Law Center for labeling it as a hate group.
The indictment alleges that the Proud Boys held meetings and communicated over encrypted messages to plan for the attack in the days leading up to Jan. 6. On the day of the riot, authorities say Proud Boys dismantled metal barricades set up to protect the Capitol and mobilized, directed and led members of the crowd into the building.
Prosecutors have said the Proud Boys arranged for members to communicate using specific frequencies on Baofeng radios. The Chinese-made devices can be programmed for use on hundreds of frequencies, making it difficult for outsiders to eavesdrop.
Shortly before the riot, authorities say Tarrio posted on social media that the group planned to turn out in “record numbers” on Jan. 6, but would be “incognito” instead of donning their traditional clothing colors of black and yellow.
Around the same time, an unnamed person sent Tarrio a document that laid out plans for occupying a few “crucial buildings” in Washington on Jan. 6, including House and Senate office buildings around the Capitol, the indictment says. The nine-page document was entitled “1776 Returns” and called for having as “many people as possible” to “show our politicians We the People are in charge,” according to the indictment.
Nordean, of Auburn, Washington, was a Proud Boys chapter president and a member of the group’s national “Elders Council.” Biggs, of Ormond Beach, Florida, is a self-described Proud Boys organizer. Rehl was president of the Proud Boys chapter in Philadelphia. Pezzola is a Proud Boy member from Rochester, New York.
A New York man pleaded guilty in December to storming the U.S. Capitol with fellow Proud Boys members. Matthew Greene was the first Proud Boys member to publicly plead guilty to conspiring with other members to stop Congress from certifying the Electoral College vote. Greene agreed to cooperate with authorities investigating the attack.
Another Proud Boy, Charles Donohoe, of Kernersville, North Carolina, pleaded guilty in April to conspiracy and assault charges and also agreed to cooperate in the Justice Department’s cases against other members of the extremist group.
In December, a federal judge refused to dismiss an earlier indictment charging alleged leaders of the Proud Boys with conspiring to block the certification of Biden's electoral college win. U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly rejected defense attorneys’ arguments that the men were charged with conduct that is protected by the First Amendment right to free speech.