U.S. pursuing seditious conspiracy cases in ‘unprecedented’ probe of Capitol riot

Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather in Washington
Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump climb on walls at the U.S. Capitol during a protest against the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart

By Sarah N. Lynch, Mark Hosenball and Eric Beech, Reuters

The U.S. Justice Department has opened criminal investigations of more than 170 individuals on their involvement in the riot at the U.S. Capitol by President Donald Trump’s supporters, and investigators are working toward charging people with assault and seditious conspiracy, the top federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C. said on Tuesday.

“I think the scope and scale of this investigation and these cases are really unprecedented, not only in FBI history, but probably DOJ history,” Acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin said in a press briefing on Tuesday.

“The Capitol grounds outside and inside are… a crime scene.”

Sherwin said 70 criminal cases have been filed to date. While many of them involve people whose photos went viral on social media, such as one of a man pictured sitting at the desk of a staffer of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, he said more serious charges are coming and a grand jury has been reviewing the cases.

“We’re looking at significant felony cases tied to sedition and conspiracy,” Sherwin said, noting his office has launched a strike force whose marching orders are to build criminal cases around such charges.

He added that other strike forces have been formed to focus on assaults on law enforcement and members of the media.