Prosecutors Request Slowdown Of Capitol Riot Cases; More Oath Keeper Indictments Likely
The Justice Department’s investigation into the deadly Jan. 6 insurrectionist Capitol Hill riot is so massive that it has asked federal judges for 60-day delays in many of the cases to give it more time to review and process evidence. In a nine-page filing Friday morning, U.S. attorneys also indicated that there could be several more indictments forthcoming of members of the far-right anti-government group the Oath Keepers.
Prosecutors wrote, “The investigation and prosecution of the Capitol Attack will likely be one of the largest in American history, both in terms of the number of defendants prosecuted and the nature and volume of the evidence.” That evidence includes the findings of more than 900 search warrants in almost all 50 states, more than 15,000 hours of footage from surveillance and body-worn cameras. Investigators also are examining some 1,600 electronic devices, searching through hundreds of text messages and reviewing 210,000 tips and 80,000 witness interviews.
About 300 suspects already have been charged, but prosecutors say at least another 100 are likely to be added. Newly sworn in Attorney General Merrick Garland has said that investigation and prosecution of those involved in the Capitol Hill assault will be his top early priority.
In addition to the trespassing and destruction of property charges already lodged against many of those arrested, prosecutors also have indicated that more serious crimes such as seditious conspiracy are a possibility as they continue their efforts.
The Justice Department already has arrested and charged nine members of the Oath Keepers group and is looking hard at building a broader conspiracy case possibly against as many as 15 members. The founder of the group, Stewart Rhodes, is figuring prominently in the investigation. Rhodes was once a congressional staffer for libertarian congressman Ron Paul – Rand’s father – and admits he was in Washington, D.C. on the day of the riot. He insists, however, he did not tell his members to storm the Capitol.