Rioters who were passive during the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, but can be convicted of disorderly conduct, a federal court ruled Friday.
The case focused on a rioter, Russell Alford, who received a year-long sentence for his “role” in the insurrection. He was attempting to challenge “the reasonableness of his sentence and the sufficiency of the evidence to support two of his convictions, both of which charged him with engaging in ‘disorderly or disruptive conduct.’”
“The trial evidence indicated that, during Alford’s brief time within the Capitol, he was neither violent nor destructive,” D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson wrote in a Friday filing. “Nevertheless, we affirm his convictions because a jury could rationally find that his unauthorized presence in the Capitol as part of an unruly mob contributed to the disruption of the Congress’s electoral certification and jeopardized public safety.”
The ruling came down a day before the third anniversary of the Capitol riot. Over 1,200 people have faced federal crime charges over the insurrection.
“[I]t is equally clear from caselaw that even passive, quiet and nonviolent conduct can be disorderly,” the Friday filing read.
Prosecutors are still on the hunt for a minimum of 80 suspects and whoever placed pipe bombs at the offices of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Republican National Committee (DNC). The FBI has put up a $500,000 reward for the perpetrator.
“We cannot replace votes and deliberation with violence and intimidation,” the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, Matthew Graves, said in a statement Thursday, per the AP.
In his first campaign speech of the year Friday, President Biden highlighted the Jan. 6 attack in an attempt to cement a point about former President Trump and other Republicans espousing a kind of extremism that was seen by the world on that day.
“Democracy is on the ballot. Your freedom is on the ballot,” Biden said in the speech, given near Valley Forge, Pa.
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