Federal Judge Calls Out Trump For Role In Jan. 6 Insurrection

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On Wednesday, federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson singled out former President Donald Trump and certain allies of his for their role in fostering the attack on the Capitol in January. Pretending like some other course of events played out, of course, would be ridiculous — those who swarmed the premises on that fateful day did so under the inspiration of Donald Trump’s lie that the election had been rigged for Biden, and Trump has since come to their defense over and over again. At this point, violence could easily be described as a defining feature of Trumpism.

As Jackson put it, those behind the January 6 rally in D.C. that immediately preceded the Capitol violence are guilty of having “deliberately stoked the flames of fear and discontent and explicitly encouraged [attendees] to go to the Capitol and fight for one reason and one reason only: to make sure the certification of the election didn’t happen.” Jackson made her remarks during a sentencing hearing for Capitol rioter Russell Peterson, who pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor offense and was ultimately sentenced to 30 days in jail. Addressing Peterson, Jackson added that there “may be others who bear greater responsibility and should be held accountable. But this is not their day in court. It’s yours.”

Peterson was not accused of perpetrating direct physical violence while at the Capitol. Those who did so are facing significantly steeper charges, with potential penalties including much longer stints in prison. Capitol rioter Scott Fairlamb, who assaulted police during the violence, was recently sentenced to nearly three and a half years in prison — but he pleaded guilty, and going to trial instead of accepting responsibility might lead to longer sentences for rioters, if found guilty.

Other serious charges faced by those who stormed the Capitol include weapons offenses, conspiracy, and obstruction of an official proceeding. There’s not yet been a single trial involving someone who was actually at the riot — so far, all of those who were charged for being at the riot and who’ve since been sentenced had previously pleaded guilty. Certain defendants, though, have been held in custody anyway — despite their lack of a trial — because of the severity of the violence that they perpetrated at the Capitol.