Judge says Jan 6 arrestees not political prisoners, hostages, or tourists
A Republican-appointed Federal Judge who has prosecuted some notable Capitol breach cases writes that he is shocked to watch some public figures try to “rewrite history” by claiming “rioters behaved in an orderly fashion like ordinary tourists” or martyrizing convicted January 6 defendants as “political prisoners” or “hostages.”
Without naming those “public figures,” U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth wrote in a recent case that such claims as “preposterous.” Calling the rhetoric “destructive” and “misguided” Judge Lamberth cautioned that such ideas could lead to “further danger to our country.”
Judge Lamberth, appointed to the District of Columbia court by President Ronald Reagan in 1987 included the comments in resentencing notes in the case of James Little, who was convicted of a misdemeanor offense in connection with the breach.
Among the other January 6 cases handled by Judge Lamberth was that of Jacob Chansley who famously wore horns and carried a spear into the Capitol during the breach.
Lamberth also convicted Mercer County mom Rachel Powell known as the “pink hat lady” or “bullhorn lady” whom he sent to prison for 57 months.
Just days before beginning her sentence, Powell wrote on her “X” account:
“The tides are turning. America knows the only Insurrection happened in November and that #J6 people are #politicalprisoners.”
Calling efforts by anyone to “misinterpret or misrepresent” the January 6 events, Lamberth wrote that he “cannot condone the notion that those who broke the law on January 6 did nothing wrong, or that those duly convicted with all the safeguards of the United States Constitution, including a right to trial by jury in felony cases, are political prisoners or hostages.”
Judge Lamberth also included a paragraph he said was intended to “set the record straight”.
“…based on what I’ve learned presiding over many January 6 prosecutions, hearing from dozens of witnesses, watching hundreds of hours of video footage, and reading thousands of pages of evidence. On January 6, 2021, a mob of people invaded and occupied the United States Capitol, using force to interrupt the peaceful transfer of power mandated by the Constitution and our republican heritage. This was not a protest that got out of hand. It was a riot; in many respects a coordinated riot...”
Conceding that thousands of protestors who didn’t approach the Capitol simply shared their views on the election, the judge goes on the state that “rioters” who breached and occupied the Capitol building and grounds, halting the counting of the Electoral College votes, “interfered with a necessary step in the constitutional process, disrupted the lawful transfer of power, and thus jeopardized the American constitutional order.”
Judge Lamberth notes that the actions resulted in the deaths of multiple people, injury to over 140 members of law enforcement, and “lasting trauma for our entire nation.”
“This was not patriotism; it was the antithesis of patriotism.,” said Lamberth. “And the rioters achieved this result through force.”
While admitting that not everyone present that day was violent, Judge Lamberth asserts that violence let them into the Capitol.
“…law enforcement was subjected to such force by such a mass of people that the rioters pushed through. Upon entering the Capitol, many rioters vandalized and looted, some hunted for members of Congress,” according to Judge Lamberth.
In the three years since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 1,265 people have been charged in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 440 charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation continues.
Judge Lamberth’s notes may be read in their entirety below: