Broadly allowing participants in the failed coup attempt of January 6 to look into 44,000 hours of security footage from the day of the assault would threaten to unreasonably slow down criminal proceedings. Worse, U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg also observed doing so could “derail” dozens of trials.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) released the security tapes to the popular Fox News host Tucker Carlson, although they’ve also been sought by others, including elsewhere in the media. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), who was among those on the House panel that investigated the Capitol riot, has expressed concerns about the possibility that more widely distributing the video could let individuals and groups interested in committing acts of violence have a critical inside look at the Capitol’s security precautions.
Judge Boasberg refused to let Capitol riot defendant Sara Carpenter take another look into available footage as her trial quickly approached, although the judge said he could see why the defendant with two felony charges wanted to peruse the materials. However, Boasberg indicated that Carpenter’s defense did not give an adequate reason to see additional tapes potentially showing Carpenter inside of the Capitol Building, according to Politico.
After all, “prosecutors had already turned over footage of the vast majority of Carpenter’s 34 minutes inside the building,” as summarized in Politico. In addition, the federal judge added that broadly allowing the kind of access sought would threaten to “derail dozens of trials that are set in the next few months.”
Before McCarthy recently made additional caches of evidence available, Capitol Police already produced 14,000 hours of footage covering key portions of the Capitol violence. “Boasberg’s ruling is the latest ripple caused by McCarthy’s decision to widen access to 44,000 hours of Capitol security footage from Jan. 6,” Politico noted. The video has also come up in proceedings at a seditious conspiracy trial against individuals involved with the Proud Boys.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has charged what it recently identified as nearly 1,000 people who ravaged the nation’s Capitol and its surroundings in a narrowly failed attempt at blocking the 2020 election results, and it was not certain whether the extra tapes would make a difference in the criminal trials. Even as McCarthy has indicated what would no doubt be an interest in complying with defendants’ wishes for the tapes, the Department of Justice “has yet to indicate whether it, too, will attempt to obtain and review the footage,” Politico said.
Prosecutors for Carpenter’s case commented that they had used CCTV footage to put together the “overwhelming” majority of her time in the building, with only what the government called “seconds” left outside what Carpenter already had available through the prior discovery process.
Boasberg said asking to view all of the tapes was legitimate but only if the result would be potentially exculpatory, which Carpenter didn’t prove:
‘It’s certainly not a frivolous request by any means.’
U.S. prosecutor Christopher Cook commented:
‘We don’t have what the speaker has. In any case, there’s always the possibility some information may be out there.’
In other recent news from January 6, a Florida woman charged over the riot was evading justice. A Florida affiliate of NBC reported that as of late last week the whereabouts of Olivia Pollock, suspected of tampering with a GPS monitoring device she was supposed to be wearing, were unknown. Her trial was supposed to start this Monday, and the judge has issued a warrant for her arrest.
Image: Brett Davis/ Creative Commons
Gloria Christie is a political journalist for the liberal online newspaper The Bipartisan Report. Find her here on Facebook. Or at Three White Lions, her book written in her own unique style with a twist of humor on Amazon Kindle Vella and the Gloria Christie Three White Lions podcast on Apple, Spotify, Amazon Music, etc. Christie’s Mueller Report Adventures In Bite-Sizes a real-life compelling spy mystery (in progress).