US prosecutors prepare to bring charges against Capitol Hill rioters

Posted by News Express | 8 January 2021 | 451 times

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U.S. law enforcement authorities are aggressively pursuing leads to identify and arrest hundreds of pro-Trump supporters who took part in the first violent attack on the U.S. Capitol in more than two centuries.

While police arrested only a dozen or so people Wednesday afternoon when the rioters stormed the Capitol, several dozen others have since been arrested, and officials vowed to pursue the rest. Identifying and arresting them, however, could take weeks, they said.

“The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that those responsible for this attack on our Government and the rule of law face the full consequences of their actions under the law,” Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said in a statement.

Federal prosecutors worked with FBI and ATF special agents as well as local law enforcement throughout the night to gather evidence, identify perpetrators and bring charges, Rosen said. Several charges are expected to be announced later Thursday with more coming in the days and weeks ahead, he added. Because Washington, D.C., is not a state, federal prosecutors handle criminal charges in the district.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said the bureau has “deployed our full investigative resources” to pursue the rioters.

“Make no mistake: With our partners, we will hold accountable those who participated in yesterday’s siege of the Capitol,” Wray said in a statement.

The brazen assault, described by Rosen as “an intolerable attack on a fundamental institution of our democracy,” came as hundreds of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol while members of Congress were meeting in a joint session to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win in the Nov. 3 election.

Trump was widely condemned for inciting the violence by imploring supporters angry over his electoral loss to march on the Capitol. Former Attorney General William Barr, a staunch Trump ally while in office, said in a statement to the Associated Press that the president’s conduct “was a betrayal to his office and supporters.”

Just how many people will ultimately be arrested and charged remains unknown.  Washington, D.C., Police Chief Steven Sund said “thousands of individuals” were involved “in violent riotous actions,” attacking law enforcement officers with metal pipes, chemical irritants and other weapons. More than 50 Capitol police officers and Washington police officers were injured, with several taken to the hospital.

“They were determined to enter into the Capitol Building by causing great damage,” Sund said in a statement.

Many left behind incriminating evidence in the form of videos and photographs posted on social media. Law enforcement officials said they’re combing surveillance videos and social media images to identify perpetrators. The FBI urged the public to share “tips and digital media depicting rioting or violence.”

Jordan Strauss, a former federal prosecutor and now a managing director with Kroll, a risk management consultancy, said the videos and photographs offer a “plethora of evidence” that prosecutors can use to bring charges.

“A lot of people livestreamed their crimes while they were committing them,” Strauss said.

The rioters could face a host of federal charges, Strauss said, ranging from destruction of property to threatening members of Congress and sedition.  (VOA)

Source: News Express

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