The criminal investigation into individuals who participated in the deadly assault on the Capitol in early 2021 is continuing, and a letter newly reported on by Bloomberg reveals an estimate of the still looming cases against individual rioters as at around 1,000 or more.
The letter was from late last year, in October, and was sourced from D.C. U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves for Beryl Howell, the outgoing chief judge on the D.C. district court. The missive, which dates from when the total of arrests was evidently near 900, estimated that from 700 to 1,200 additional cases could be coming — and with arrests since reaching around 1,000, that still leaves up to around 1,000 or more that observers can expect. Also according to Bloomberg, Graves expressed an expectation that the portion of cases involving accusations of felony offenses would go up in the new proceedings. Acknowledging there were still complicating factors, Graves also indicated he expected a forthcoming increase in following months in the rate of new cases.
Some of the felony offenses that prosecutors have most often cited in their allegations against participants in the riot include civil disorder, assaulting police — sometimes with a deadly or dangerous weapon, and obstructing an official proceeding. Felonies, of course, would also generally come with longer stints in prison if eventually found guilty, and in a recent filing in the case of rioter Geoffrey Sills, prosecutors asked for nine years of detention, exemplifying that higher range.
Sills had participated in violence in the area of the Lower West Terrace at the Capitol, where there’s a tunnel leading into the building itself around which Daniel Hodges and Michael Fanone, both among the responding officers, were assaulted. Authorities have also newly arrested — just recently — additional individuals who were in that crowd, including a New Jersey man in his 20s who stood by as Fanone was attacked and then shouted in favor of basically doing it again, yelling to “drag them out!” in obvious reference to police.
Hundreds of those charged from the riot, including Jacob Chansley, who’s the guy sometimes called the QAnon Shaman, have pleaded guilty. Outrage from the far-right about law enforcement scrutiny of these individuals is continuing. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) recently demanded that Chansley get a new trial, although he originally pleaded guilty rather than going to trial. Tucker Carlson of Fox News trumpeted supposedly exonerating footage of Chansley showing him inside the Capitol without actively engaging in physical violence, but physical attacks weren’t among the acts to which he admitted, so there’s not even really a narrative here for Carlson to dispute. Trump also remains generally in support of the Capitol rioters.