The Justice Department is investigating more than 170 people allegedly involved in the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. Charges could include sedition and conspiracy, and murder.
That number could grow by the hundreds in the coming weeks, acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Michael Sherwin said Tuesday.
“Given the enormity of the actors we saw, both inside and outside the Capitol, the range of criminal conduct is really … unmatched in any type of scenario we’ve seen,” Sherwin said.
He said the gamut of cases was “mind-blowing.”
“We are looking at everything from simple trespass; to theft of mail, to theft of digital devices inside the Capitol; to assault on local officers, federal officers, both inside and outside the Capitol; to theft of potential national security information or national defense information; to felony murder and even civil rights excessive-force investigations,” Sherwin said.
Some convictions could carry sentences of 20 years in prison, he said.
“We’ve already charged 70 cases,” he said. “I suspect that number is going to grow into the hundreds.”
Thousands gathered in Washington last week to object to Congress certifying the Electoral College vote for President-elect Joe Biden. Hundreds overwhelmed the Capitol Police and broke windows to get into the Capitol.
Investigators determined that some carried zip ties, which are used to tie people’s hands in a kidnapping. Other rioters chanted “Hang Mike Pence” after the vice president announced he would not act unilaterally to reject Electoral College votes from certain states.
Sherwin explained that prosecutors began with charges that included destruction of property or trespassing in order to bring initial charges, before compiling more evidence and building a stronger case.
“We may have started with misdemeanor charges, but we are looking to build significant felony cases tied to sedition and conspiracy,” he said.
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