Posts

DOJ’s Reply Motion for Carl Nichols’ Reconsideration on 1512: Other Judge Other Judges Other Judges

I’ve written two posts on former Clarence Thomas clerk Carl Nichols’ outlier ruling rejecting DOJ’s use of 18 USC 1512(c)(2) to January 6. (one, two)

Yesterday, they submitted their reply motion. It reads like this:

Reconsideration of the substantive ruling in Miller is appropriate because that ruling is inconsistent with decisions from every other judge on this Court to have considered the issue. That inconsistency means proving a violation of Section 1512(c)(2) requires additional facts in this case (and other Section 1512(c)(2) cases in front of this Court) but not in any case before any of the other judges of this Court. Moreover, with one exception, the Court’s ruling in Miller did not address the opinions from other judges of this Court, some of whom have explicitly disagreed with this Court after Miller issued.

[snip]

As noted in the government’s reconsideration motion, every other judge of this Court to consider this issue has concluded that Section 1512(c)(2) “prohibits obstruction by means other than document destruction.” United States v. Sandlin, No. 21-cr-88, 2021 WL 5865006, at *5 (D.D.C. Dec. 10, 2021) (Friedrich, J.); see ECF 75 at 5-6 (citing cases). At the time the reconsideration motion was filed, one judge had disagreed with Miller in a footnote, United States v. Puma, 21-cr-454, 2022 WL 823079, at *12 n.4 (D.D.C. Mar. 19, 2022) (Friedman, J.), and another judge indicated her disagreement with Miller orally when delivering a “brief ruling” denying a defendant’s post-trial motion for judgment of acquittal, see United States v. Reffitt, 21-cr-32, Trial Tr. 1498, 1502-05 (Mar. 8, 2022) (Friedrich, J.) (attached as Exhibit A to the reconsideration motion). Since the reconsideration motion was filed, judges have continued to reject Miller’s reasoning. See, e.g., United States v. Hughes, No. 21-cr-106, Minute Order denying motion to dismiss count charging Section 1512 (D.D.C. May 9, 2022) (Kelly, J.) (rejecting the “narrow reading” of Section 1512(c)(2) and agreeing with an opinion that “directly responded to and rejected the logic employed in Miller”); United States v. Hale-Cusanelli, No. 21-cr-37, Transcript of motion to dismiss hearing at 4-8 (D.D.C. May 6, 2022) (McFadden, J.)(attached as Exhibit D);United States v. Reffitt, No. 21-cr-32, 2022 WL 1404247, at *7-*10 (D.D.C. May 4, 2022) (Friedrich, J.); United States v. McHugh, No. 21-cr-453, 2022 WL 1302880, at *2-*13 (D.D.C. May 2, 2022) (Bates, J). Although none of those rulings represents “controlling law,” McAllister v. District of Columbia, 53 F. Supp. 3d 55, 59 (D.D.C. 2014) (internal quotation marks omitted), it is surely “significant” that this Court stands as the sole outlier among all the judges on this Court to have ruled on the issue both before and after Miller issued.

Two related factors militate in favor of reconsideration of the Court’s substantive conclusion about the scope of Section 1512(c)(2). First, the Court in Miller addressed only one of the contrary opinions from judges on this Court. See Mem. Op. 16, 18 n.8, 22, 26 (citing United States v. Montgomery, No. 21-cr-46, 2021 WL 6134591(D.D.C. Dec. 28, 2021)). Reconsideration would permit the Court the opportunity to consider in full the “persuasive authority” issued by other judges of this Court. See United States v. Drummond, 98 F. Supp. 2d 44, 50 n.5 (D.D.C. 2000) (noting that within-Circuit district court cases are not binding but “[o]f course” are “persuasive authority”). Second, reconsideration resulting in an interpretation consistent with other judges of this Court would ensure that all defendants charged under Section 1512(c)(2) are treated alike until the court of appeals has an opportunity on post-conviction review to consider the merits of their challenges to the statute’s scope.

[snip]

Second, Miller argues (Opp. 10-18) that the government “misunderstands” (id. at 10) this Court’s textual analysis of Section 1512(c)(2). But the issue is not one of misapprehension; rather, the government (and every other judge on this Court to have considered the issue) understands but disagrees with the Court’s (and Miller’s) interpretation of Section 1512(c)(2)’s reach. [my emphasis]

It uses Garret Miller’s response to implicitly attack Carl Nichols and emphasize the degree to which even Nichols’ Trump appointed colleagues — first Dabney Friedrich, then Tim Kelly, and finally, the judge most likely to agree with Nichols, Trevor McFadden — have disagreed with Nichols’ thinking.

Guy Reffitt’s prosecution is now ripe for appeal, if he still plans on doing that. Or Nichols will choose to adhere to his outlier opinion.

Here’s the current tally on obstruction opinions, with McFadden added.

  1. Dabney Friedrich, December 10, 2021, Sandlin*
  2. Amit Mehta, December 20, 2021, Caldwell*
  3. James Boasberg, December 21, 2021, Mostofsky
  4. Tim Kelly, December 28, 2021, Nordean; May 9, 2022, Hughes (by minute order), rejecting Miller
  5. Randolph Moss, December 28, 2021, Montgomery
  6. Beryl Howell, January 21, 2022, DeCarlo
  7. John Bates, February 1, 2022, McHugh; May 2, 2022 [on reconsideration]
  8. Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, February 9, 2022, Grider
  9. Richard Leon (by minute order), February 24, 2022, Costianes
  10. Christopher Cooper, February 25, 2022, Robertson
  11. Rudolph Contreras, announced March 8, released March 14, Andries
  12. Paul Friedman, March 19, Puma
  13. Thomas Hogan, March 30, Sargent (opinion forthcoming)
  14. Trevor McFadden, May 6, Hale-Cusanelli

Trevor McFadden Rewards a White Lady for Endorsing a Revolution and Bragging about Violence against Cops

Yesterday, Trevor McFadden blew off DOJ’s request that Jenny Cudd be sentenced to jail time as well as DOJ’s request for a continuance of Cudd’s sentence so DOJ can determine what to do given that Cudd reneged on her statement of offense. Instead, the Trump appointee sentenced Cudd to two months of probation and a $5000 fine. Given the other sentences for January 6 defendants and even McFadden’s other sentencing decisions, it’s hard to view this sentence as anything else but a reward to Cudd for endorsing a revolution and refusing to fully cooperate with the government.

I could not listen in on the sentencing hearing. It was held in person, and McFadden — perhaps because he would like to hide his naked partisanship from the public — doesn’t turn on his public line for in-person hearings. At least forty other people besides me tried to call into this hearing.

But according to Jordan Fischer, the entire hearing was about whether those — like Cudd — who participated in a violent attempt to interfere with the peaceful transfer of power are being treated differently than Portland protestors arrested blocks away from Federal property. Cudd even publicly stated that she wished the effort to interfere with the vote certification had succeeded, basically a public boast that she wanted to obstruct the an official proceeding, the original crime with which she was charged.

Cudd’s attorney, Marina Medvin, accused the DOJ of “gamesmanship” and suggested prosecutors were recommending jail time not because of her individual actions, but because of her political views. She dismissed Cudd’s social media statements as “drunken tirades” and repeatedly drew comparisons to how federal prosecutors have charged, or not charged, protestors in Portland and during the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. McFadden was the right audience for those arguments, having repeatedly made the same comparisons himself during other hearings in Capitol riot cases.

Before delivering his sentence, McFadden said he didn’t believe in “aggregate justice” and that he found the DOJ’s sentencing recommendation for Cudd “disproportionate” from others with similar conduct.

“It does feel like the government had had two different standards here, and I can’t abide by that,” he said.

Cudd herself delivered a short statement promising to continue to fight for “free, fair and transparent elections” and saying she’d suffered financial and social consequences from her arrest, including threats against her and her business. She also expressed regret — that the challenge to certification of electoral votes on Jan. 6 was disrupted.

“I believe we would have a very different country if that debate process had not been interrupted that day,” Cudd said.

The reason we can be absolutely certain that McFadden rewarded Cudd because she doubled down on the glee with which she interfered with the vote certification (aside from his repeated explicit promises to sentence January 6 defendants lightly) is because we can compare her sentence with that of her co-defendant Eliel Rosa, who is different from Cudd in five ways: Rosa is an immigrant from Brazil, he pled guilty to a less serious misdemeanor than Cudd (parading versus entering restricted grounds), he not only fully cooperated with the investigation but actually turned himself in, unlike Cudd he was not in communication with the Proud Boys, and unlike Cudd, he is not known to have endorsed revolution the night before the riot.

McFadden sentenced Rosa to a longer period of probation than he did Cudd.

As the government has repeatedly described, after Cudd went to the rally on January 5, she came back to her hotel room at the Willard Hotel and endorsed a revolution.

On January 5, 2021, Cudd posted a video to social media in which she said, “a lot of . . . the speakers this evening were calling for a revolution. Now I don’t know what y’all think about a revolution, but I’m all for it . . . . Nobody actually wants war, nobody wants bloodshed, but the government works for us and, unfortunately, it appears that they have forgotten that, quite a lot. So if a revolution is what it takes then so be it. I don’t know if that is going to kick off tomorrow or not. We shall see what the powers that be choose to do with their power, and we shall see what it is that happens in Congress tomorrow at our United States Capitol. So either way I think that either our side or the other side is going to start a revolution.” [my emphasis]

The next day, as she was marching to the Capitol in a bulletproof sweatshirt (reflecting pre-planning for violence), she stated that she planned to convene with the Proud Boys who were — at that moment — kicking off a violent attack on the Capitol.

The following day, on January 6, 2021, Cudd posted about marching toward the Capitol. According to a newspaper in Texas, at approximately 12:30 p.m., Cudd posted a live video to social media in which she stated that she was about 3 miles from the Capitol, that she intended to convene with the Proud Boys2 at the Capitol, and that she was wearing a bulletproof sweatshirt.

2 Cudd appears to have been communicating with a member of the Proud Boys on and around January 6; however, the government is not aware of any additional connection Cudd has to the group.

The government even cited Cudd’s boasts about the violence used against cops.

“So we get to the Capitol and some of the patriots had already broken down all of the barricades, and they had literally ripped out the fence . . . Pushing and pushing and pushing. And we got the police to back off. So we get up there and the scaffolding that they had put up for the inauguration, there were people that were starting to climb it. We had to scale a wall to get there. There were people that were starting to climb the scaffolding. And we just pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed and yelled ‘go’ and yelled ‘charge’ and on and on and on. We just pushed and pushed and pushed, okay? And we got in. We got up the top of the Capitol. There was a door that was open. We went through the door. And we were inside

In October, McFadden sentenced Rosa to twelve months of probation (he did not fine Rosa, if I recall correctly, because Rosa already lost his job as a result of his role in the insurrection).

Yesterday, Trevor McFadden rewarded Rosa’s co-defendant by giving her just two months of probation, as compared to Rosa’s year of probation.

With that sentence, then, McFadden rewarded a white lady for attacking democracy.

Update: On Twitter, Cudd claimed that my factual observation about the way McFadden coddled her arises out of white guilt.

Pandora’s Presidential Archives, Couy Griffin Edition

The attorney for New Mexico politician and Cowboys for Trump founder, Couy Griffin, is a guy named Nick Smith.

He is laudably aggressive. And in a case in which Griffin was charged just with trespassing (18 USC 1752), Smith has fought the prosecution every step of the way, even though if Griffin were to get jail time, he already served time after his arrest and so likely would only get time served.

In July, DC’s Trumpiest judge, Trevor McFadden, soundly denied Griffin’s first attempt to get the 1752 charges thrown out, arguing that Smith’s legalistic interpretation of the required role of Secret Service didn’t accord with the statutory history.

While Griffin clings to this statutory history, it ends up being more cement shoes than life preserver. By 2006 Congress rewrote the statute, in the process eliminating reference to the Treasury Department and to any “regulations” from any executive branch agency. 5 18 U.S.C. § 1752 (2006). More, the new statute criminalized merely entering or remaining in a restricted area; the old statute required further action, such as impeding government business, obstructing ingress or egress, or physical violence. Compare 18 U.S.C. § 1752(a)(1) (2006) with 18 U.S.C. § 1752(a) (1970). But Congress did not stop there. In 2012 it reconfigured the statute, adding the term “restricted buildings or grounds” and then defining it under subsection (c), as it appears today. 18 U.S.C. § 1752(a) (2012). Congress did not take that opportunity to clarify who can or must do the restricting, leaving it open-ended. But Congress did lower the mens rea requirement, striking the requirement that a defendant act “willfully.”

So what should the Court gather from this foray into § 1752’s statutory history? “Not much” would be a fair answer. Perhaps better would be to recognize the direction of Congress’s legislative march, where at every turn it has broadened the scope the statute and the potential for liability. Even if Griffin were correct that earlier versions required Secret Service authorizations of restrictions, the Court cannot reconstitute provisions that Congress has jettisoned. And the Court cannot agree with Griffin that woven through these increasingly broad versions of the statute was a latent limitation that only the Secret Service could effectively post, cordon off, or restrict an area.

But in the wake of the description in Jon Karl’s book of where Mike Pence hid from the rioters, Smith tried again, arguing that the space where Mike Pence was evacuated was a garage for another building of the Capitol. Smith argued that meant Pence was not present (and therefore the necessary trigger for 1752 was absent). Smith wants the photos that the Secret Service assuredly wants to keep secret (because it reveals the location of a VIP security location), though the language he cites appears to prove him wrong.

The Senate garage, and underground tunnels leading to it, do not fall under the statutory definitions of the Capitol Building and Capitol Grounds. As shown above, all the features making up the “United States Capitol Grounds” are, appropriately enough, above ground. § 5102(a). As to whether the tunnels and Senate underground garage are part of the “Capitol Building” itself, Title 40 answers in the negative. “Capitol Buildings” are defined as follows:

[T]he term “Capitol Buildings” means the United States Capitol, the Senate and House Office Buildings and garages, the Capitol Power Plant, all buildings on the real property described under section 5102(c) (including the Administrative Building of the United States Botanic Garden) all buildings on the real property described under section 5102(d), all subways and enclosed passages connecting two or more of those structures, and the real property underlying and enclosed by any of those structures. 40 U.S.C. § 5101 (emboldening added).

As seen above, the definition of “Capitol Buildings,” plural, distinguishes between the tunnels and underground garages, on the one hand, and the “United States Capitol” building itself, on the other. The “subways,” underground “enclosed passages,” and “garages” are not part of the “United States Capitol” building (the “restricted” building) because they are set off from one another by commas in a list.

Photographic evidence showing that the Secret Service protectee was not present in the § 1752 “building” or “grounds” at the same time as Griffin is Brady material. It should be produced by the government. If it is not, the Court should dismiss the charges pursuant to Local Criminal Rule 5.1(g)(4), as Griffin would then be denied access to evidence going to the heart of his case.

The government response didn’t address the question posed by Smith’s filing, “what is a garage.”

Instead, in a footnote, DOJ says that the photos would not be exculpatory in any case.

The government rejects the Defendant’s contention that the photographs that are the subject of the Defendant’s motion have some exculpatory value. 18 U.S.C. 1752(a)(1) and (2) criminalizes a person entering a restricted area “of a building or grounds where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting.” 18 U.S.C. 1752(c)(1)(B). 18 U.S.C. 1752 does not require the Secret Service protectee to be present on the grounds or in the building where the restricted area has been established at the time of an illegal entry into the restricted area. Therefore, the Vice President’s presence in an underground parking garage or tunnel does not exculpate the Defendant with respect to the charged conduct.

But the bulk of the response says that the photos are not Brady because the government doesn’t have possession of the photos.

Brady material is material in the government’s possession that has some exculpatory or impeachment value. United States v. Nelson, 979 F.Supp.2d 123 (D.C. Cir. 2013). The photographs requested by the Defendant from the official White House photographer are not in the government’s possession, therefore, they are not considered Brady and the Defendant cannot move to compel their production.1 United States v. Flynn, 411 F.Supp.3d 15 (D.C. Cir. 2019) (“Brady does not extend to information that is not within government’s possession…”). Similarly, the Defendant’s request for these photographs under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 16(a)(1)(E) should be denied, as Rule 16 only requires the government to disclose photographs within its possession. Fed. R. Crim. P. 16(a)(1)(E).

It’s not clear exactly what DOJ means by this. But according to President Obama’s White House photographer, Pete Souza, the photos should be in the Archives.

The Presidential Records Act requires that all records including “photographs” be turned over to the National Archives at the end of each administration. This includes Vice Presidential records. Congress should determine why the Archives doesn’t have them.

My guess is that’s precisely where they are, but they don’t count as being in the Executive Branch’s possession because of the way the Presidential Records Act deals with Presidential files. As the National Archives explained in Trump’s lawsuit, Trump’s records count as Presidential records for a period.

In 1978, guided by the Supreme Court’s reasoning in Nixon v. GSA, 1 Congress enacted the PRA, which changed the legal ownership of the official records of the President from private to public, and established a new statutory structure under which Presidents, and subsequently NARA, must manage the records of their Administrations. Under the PRA, records reflecting “the activities, deliberations, decisions, and policies” of the Presidency are “maintained as Presidential records.” 44 U.S.C. § 2203(a). When a President leaves office, the Archivist “assume[s] responsibility for the custody, control, and preservation of, and access to” the Presidential records of the departing administration. Id. § 2203(g)(1). The Archivist generally must make records covered by the PRA available to the public under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) starting five years after the President leaves office. Id. § 2204(b)(2), (c)(1); see also 36 C.F.R. § 1270.38. However, the outgoing President may specify that access to records in six defined categories be restricted for up to twelve years after leaving office. 44 U.S.C. § 2204(a); see also 36 C.F.R. § 1270.40(a).

We know Trump is asserting that right with respect to January 6, because as we speak, Trump is asking the Supreme Court to uphold his claim that no one else can access his records without his permission.

Of course, Judge McFadden could order DOJ that it needs to search the Archives for matters pertinent to the investigation — this investigation, and January 6 generally.

I’m sure DOJ would love that! In the case of Griffin, that would give DOJ access to the meeting that Griffin had directly with Trump, and any other contacts that are stored as Presidential Records.

But in the case of Nick Smith’s other clients — most notably Ethan Nordean — it would make records of Trump’s contacts with Proud Boys available, including records on what Enrique Tarrio was doing at the White House in December 2020.

So by all means, let’s have the Trumpiest Judge order DOJ to search through Trump’s records to find discovery pertinent to the January 6 attack, including the pictures of Mike Pence hiding from Trump’s mobsters. But along with that, let’s have the records of Trump’s contacts with them in advance of the insurrection.

Update: Griffin’s lawyers have responded. After having submitted proof that where Pence was was in the Capitol, they now play word games to suggest that “will be” is the same as “is” (and yes, the government has submitted evidence Griffin knew this).

The government is mistaken in several respects. “[R]estricted buildings or grounds” means “any posted, cordoned off, or otherwise restricted area . . . of a building or grounds where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting.” § 1752(c)(1)(B). Thus, Griffin did not “knowingly enter[] or remain[] in any restricted building or grounds,” § 1752(a)(1), if the vice president was not also present and “temporarily visiting.”

Still, Griffin claims the government has not addressed their Rule 16 claim, and so DOJ must go to NARA and get the photos for him.

The government does not dispute that an official White House photographer took the photographs of the vice president as he passed time outside the “restricted area” on January 6. ECF No. 70. Accordingly, under the Presidential Records Act, the images are records documenting the “activities” of the vice president concerning his “constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties. . .” and are thus Presidential records. 44 U.S.C. § 2203(a). When a president leaves office, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) assumes “custody [and] control” over Presidential records. § 2203(g)(1). Records of the vice president are transferred to NARA in the same manner. § 2207. NARA is an agency of the Executive branch. § 2102.

Therefore, the government has an obligation to obtain the photographs from NARA and produce them to Griffin, so long as they are merely “material to preparing the defense,” much less Brady material.1 Fed. R. Crim. P. 16(a)(1)(E)(i). It is uncontroversial that satisfying this standard is “not a heavy burden.” United States v. Lloyd, 992 F.2d 348, 351 (D.C. Cir. 1993). Griffin must merely make a showing that the material will “play an important role in uncovering admissible evidence, aiding witness preparation, corroborating testimony, or assisting impeachment or rebuttal.” Id. Of course, if the requested material is “inconsistent with or tends to negate the defendant’s guilt as to any element . . . of the offense(s) with which the defendant is charged” it is also Brady material. LCrR 5.1(b)(1). “[B]urdensomeness and logistical difficulty . . . cannot drive the decision whether items are ‘material’ to preparation of the defense. Nor can concerns about confidentiality and privacy rights of others trump the right of one charged with a crime to present a fair defense.” United States v. O’Keefe, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31053, at *4 (D.D.C. Apr. 27, 2007).

As I said, I look forward to, on Trevor McFadden’s order, DOJ going to NARA and getting all the records pertinent to Griffin among Trump’s records. The government can supersede Griffin while he continues to dawdle, and Trump’s own records of Griffin’s relationship might change DOJ’s understanding of the case.

The same is all the more true for the militia defendants that the Smiths represent.

They’re doing this just as SCOTUS’ inaction is creating the opportunity for NARA to provide the first 4 pages of which Trump has claimed privilege over to the Select Committee.

Trevor McFadden Uses Stormtroopers to Justify His Promise to Let Jan6ers Off Easy

In the middle of a rather cursory opinion rejecting David Judd’s claim that he has been selectively prosecuted as compared to Portland rioters, Trevor McFadden cites this AP story to support a claim that “thousands” of protestors gathered every night in Portland.

For the first prong, Judd argues that he is similarly situated to multiple defendants who faced charges in the District of Oregon. Those defendants rioted outside the Mark Hatfield Federal Courthouse in Portland during the summer of 2020. See Def.’s Mot. at 2–4. The riots erupted after the death of George Floyd in May 2020 and raged for months. Thousands gathered nightly, vandalizing the courthouse and hurling objects at federal agents guarding it. Officers responded with tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse rioters, but the riots continued, causing havoc. See generally Mike Balsamo and Gillian Flaccus, On Portland’s Street: Anger, fear, and a fence that divides, AP News (July 27, 2020). [my emphasis]

In fact, the story says that the 4,000 gathered on that particular night was the largest crowd federal officers had seen, not that those kinds of numbers consistently came out.

Under orders to protect the courthouse — federal property that has been increasingly targeted as the city’s protests against racial injustice march on — the agents were accustomed to the drill. But tonight, the crowd was huge, estimated at 4,000 people at its peak and the largest they had seen.

The numbers the AP cites for those involved in violence or those that remained after officers responded is smaller.

As she spoke, small pods of three to four protesters dressed in black circulated in the crowd, stopping every few minutes to point green laser beams in the eyes of agents posted as lookouts on porticoes on the courthouse’s upper stories.

[snip]

Outside, hundreds of protesters surged back from the courthouse with each new round of tear gas, dumped saline solution and water into their stinging eyes, vomited or doubled over to catch their breath, then regrouped to march back to the fence.

“Stay together, stay tight! We do this every night!” they chanted.

The protesters’ numbers, however, were half what they had been just a few hours before.

[snip]

Tear gas canisters bounced and rolled in the street, their payload fizzing out into the air before protesters picked them up and hurled them back over the fence at the agents, who held their ground.

A woman weaved through the crowd of the few hundred people who remained and told someone on the phone, “We’ve reached some kind of stand-off, I think.”

When the federal agents finally came, they came with force. [my emphasis]

So it actually doesn’t support McFadden’s claim, which is probably why he cites it, “generally:” to hide that in fact he doesn’t have a source for his claim about sustained crowds of thousands of rioters (though at that time in July 2020, protests did remain large for a brief period).

The article is not one David Judd cited himself in either his original motion or his reply — perhaps because the AP story makes it crystal clear why firecrackers are so dangerous when thrown at cops, as he is accused of doing.

That McFadden’s clerk did research on their own on the Portland unrest and that McFadden’s clerk chose this particular article — by one of Billy Barr’s favorite reporters and covering unrest overnight on July 24 to 25, 2020 — is really telling. That’s true because the story portrays details directly pertinent to Judge McFadden’s opinion that should, but do not, appear in his opinion. And it’s also true because McFadden’s clerk relied on the AP story and not this NYT story from the same week covering the same unrest, which I’ll come back to.

At the core of Judd’s argument is that those charged with violence in Portland got (starting even under Billy Barr) and continue to get (under Merrick Garland) Deferred Prosecution Agreements, rather than the felony charges Judd is facing. To make his argument, Judd cherry-picked some cases and complained that he wasn’t being treated as nicely as a guy who (unlike Judd) was charged with a crime of terrorism, but whose charges were dismissed when the guy was murdered. DOJ pointed out more problems with Judd’s claims, including that he had claimed felony assault charges were misdemeanors, left out cases similar to his that were charged similarly, and ignored cases where DOJ deferred to state prosecution.

But DOJ professed to be unaware of the reason why three cases on which Judd (and McFadden) focused closely led to a DPA.

Further, contrary to his claims, each of the three cases Judd cites in his motion as examples where a defendant had only been charged with a misdemeanor actually involved a felony charge to 18 U.S.C. § 111(a). Although it is true that each case was eventually dismissed by the government for unknown reasons (typically after the defendants repeatedly agreed to waive their rights to a preliminary hearing or indictment over a period of months), all were initially facing felony charges. [my emphasis]

DOJ’s claim not to know why these cases entered into a DPA is just as suspect as McFadden’s choice of a source for the crowd sizes in Portland.

That’s because the three cases at the core of this debate all appear to involve assaults not at Portland Federal courthouse (marked with the green arrow), but assaults a block away, not on Federal property at all, probably close to the blue arrows marked below.

  • David Bouchard, arrested overnight on July 23-24 at Main and 4th by a Federal Protection Services officer stationed in Colorado
  • Joshua Webb, arrested overnight by a US Marshal on July 25-26 on Salman between 4th and 5th by a US Marshal
  • Thomas Johnson, arrested overnight by a US Marshal on July 25-26 “in the park” (but because it appears to be the same instance as Webb, probably towards Main & 4th) by a US Marshal

All three of these arrest affidavits include a drawing of the city block that is Federal property, and then describe arrests that don’t take place on that Federal property.

The arrest affidavits offer no explanation for what led the Federal agents to leave the courthouse they were purportedly defending.

Specifically, on July 26, 2020, federal law enforcement officers attempted to disperse a crowd on SW Salmon Street between 4th and 5th streets in Portland, OR. The crowd was part of a protest that was declared an unlawful assembly by the Federal Protective Service and a riot by the Portland Police Bureau.

In other words, the story McFadden cites for his claim that there were thousands involved in the unrest involved direct reporting from the site the day between these arrests. His clerk researched and found a story about Portland from the week of these arrests, which featured elevated hostility and significantly expanded numbers, because (as even that story noted) Portland was reacting against Billy Barr’s decision to send in Federal agents.

Which brings us back to the NYT story that McFadden could have but did not rely on. It describes that on Friday morning — overnight on July 23 to 24, so covering events from the day when Bouchard was arrested — Federal officers were prowling the streets blocks away from the Hatfield Court House that they were purportedly protecting. And that created legal problems,

After flooding the streets around the federal courthouse in Portland with tear gas during Friday’s early morning hours, dozens of federal officers in camouflage and tactical gear stood in formation around the front of the building.

Then, as one protester blared a soundtrack of “The Imperial March,” the officers started advancing. Through the acrid haze, they continued to fire flash grenades and welt-inducing marble-size balls filled with caustic chemicals. They moved down Main Street and continued up the hill, where one of the agents announced over a loudspeaker: “This is an unlawful assembly.”

By the time the security forces halted their advance, the federal courthouse they had been sent to protect was out of sight — two blocks behind them.

The aggressive incursion of federal officers into Portland has been stretching the legal limits of federal law enforcement, as agents with batons and riot gear range deep into the streets of a city whose leadership has made it clear they are not welcome.

[snip]

Robert Tsai, a professor at the Washington College of Law at American University, said the nation’s founders explicitly left local policing within the jurisdiction of local authorities.

He questioned whether the federal agents had the right to extend their operations blocks away from the buildings they are protecting.

“If the federal troops are starting to wander the streets, they appear to be crossing the line into general policing, which is outside their powers,” Professor Tsai said.

Homeland Security officials say they are operating under a federal statute that permits federal agents to venture outside the boundaries of the courthouse to “conduct investigations” into crimes against federal property or officers.

But patrolling the streets and detaining or tear-gassing protesters go beyond that legal authority, said David Lapan, the former spokesman for the agency when it was led by John Kelly, Mr. Trump’s first secretary of homeland security.

“That’s not an investigation,” Mr. Lapan said. “That’s just a show of force.”

Indeed, these particular arrests happened just after the Portland City Council voted to cease cooperating with Federal authorities, as described by a DHS OIG Report reviewing the deployment (which McFadden’s clerk might have used to source a claim that the largest protest reached 10,000 participants, but which would have made the authorization problem clear), meaning that invoking the Portland Police Bureau covering the city generally (including where these arrests seem to have taken place) was particularly problematic.

However, on July 22, 2020, the Portland City Council voted to cease cooperation between the Portland Police Bureau and Federal law enforcement. The Portland City Council viewed Federal operations in Portland as an “unprecedented and unconstitutional abuse of power” by the Federal Government.11 According to the Portland City Council resolution, “the Portland Police Bureau shall not provide, request, or willingly receive operational support … from any agent or employee representing or constituting part of deployment under executive order from the president, be they from Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Federal Protective Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection or any other service.”1

The OIG Report states that officers had authority to be in Portland, but doesn’t address whether they had legal authority to do what the did in this case: leave the building they were protecting and go blocks away, looking for trouble.

An earlier DHS OIG Report described that officers sent into Portland had not been bureaucratically designated in the way they should have been and raised still-unanswered questions about whether DHS Acting Secretaries acted under legal authority when sending troops to Portland.

In other words, there seems to be a ready explanation — one that both DOJ and McFadden have reasons to suppress — for why these cases were diverted: for a number of reasons, the arrests were made under dubious legal authority. (At least one of the other ones Judd cites may have involved less-than-lethal force violation.)

But Trevor McFadden, who made very clear he wanted to consider this kind of selective prosecution claim and has whined for months that Jan6ers are being treated differently, doesn’t mention this ready explanation which (given the research his clerk did to find the AP article and others not included in the record before that) at least his clerk must know. Instead, McFadden goes on a multi-paragraph rant suggesting that DOJ — starting under, “a Republican-appointed U.S. Attorney (under the direction of a Republican-appointed Attorney General),” he notes elsewhere — started diverting these prosecutions in significant numbers.

Judd’s claim is nontrivial. His chart suggests that Portland defendants generally received much lighter treatment than he has. For example, three Portland defendants allegedly struck officers in various ways. One placed an officer in a headlock. See United States v. Bouchard, No. 3:20-mj-00165 (D. Or.), ECF No. 1-1 at 4–5. Another punched and hit an officer in the face with a shield. See United States v. Webb, No. 3:20-mj-00169 (D. Or.), ECF No. 1 at 5. Yet another struck officers with a shield after he tried to pick up a smoke grenade. See United States v. Johnson, No. 3:20-mj-00170 (D. Or.), ECF No. 1 at 5. The Government charged these three defendants with felony assault on a federal officer, just as it charged Judd here. See Gov’t Opp’n at 17–18. That makes some sense—Judd was likewise allegedly present for a fracas with law enforcement at a federal building and used a firecracker (which if it had exploded, would have caused “bodily injury”) to “intimidate” law enforcement. 18 U.S.C. § 111(a). The Government could justifiably seek felony convictions for both Judd and the Portland defendants.

But, incredibly, the Government dismissed the charges against all three Portland defendants. See Bouchard, Motion to Dismiss Complaint, ECF No. 16; Webb, Motion to Dismiss Complaint, ECF No. 22; Johnson, Motion to Dismiss Complaint, ECF No. 9. Judd still faces nine charges, including multiple felonies, even though the Government never alleges that he, unlike the Portland defendants, struck or injured an officer. That he still faces greater charges than the Portland defendants despite that key difference is suspicious.5 That is the kind of “different treatment” that might warrant discovery. Armstrong, 517 U.S. at 470.

The Government responds that it treated Judd and the three Portland defendants equitably because it filed felony charges against all of them. See Gov’t Opp’n at 18. The Government seems to think that the initial charges are all that matter. Not so. By that logic, the Government could avoid discovery of a race-based selective prosecution claim if it indicted similarly situated black and white persons, dismissed the charges against the whites, and prosecuted the black defendants to conviction or plea. The “administration of a criminal law” is not limited to an initial charging decision. Armstrong, 517 U.S. at 464. Nor is it so easily circumvented.

More, the Government’s logic would allow it to charge similarly situated black defendants with felonies and white defendants with misdemeanors. But discriminatory effects include disparities in the “crimes charged.” Stone, 394 F. Supp. 3d at 31. The Government’s argument is thus absurd and untenable—that the Government originally indicted the Portland defendants does not erase the potential for discriminatory effect.6

Nor does the Court accept the Government’s attempt to distinguish these Portland cases on evidentiary grounds. According to the Government, video footage of Judd’s actions solidified the case against him, precluding a dismissal. See Gov’t Opp’n at 20. In contrast, Portland cases relied on officer recollections during nighttime attacks—none captured on video—by mostly masked assailants. See id. Fair enough. This could explain why fewer defendants overall were charged in Portland than here. But by indicting those cases, the Portland prosecutors presumably believed they had sufficient evidence to sustain convictions. See Justice Manual § 9-27.220 cmt. (“[N]o prosecution should be initiated against any person unless the attorney for the government believes that the admissible evidence is sufficient to obtain and sustain a guilty verdict by an unbiased trier of fact.”). If anything, that fact supports Judd’s argument. Evidentiary differences notwithstanding, the Government felt it had enough basis to charge both Judd and Portland defendants. Yet the Government dismissed the charges against only Portland defendants. The suggestion that Portland cases suffered from widespread, post-indictment, evidentiary challenges is thus a tough argument to swallow.

[snip]

Therein lies a troubling theme that emerges from a wholesale analysis of the Government’s decisions in Portland. The Government dismissed 27 cases brought against Portland defendants, including five felony cases. See generally Appendix to Def.’s Mot. Dismissal of one felony case is unusual. Dismissal of five is downright rare and potentially suspicious.7 Rarely has the Government shown so little interest in vigorously prosecuting those who attack federal officers. Considered in this light, when compared to Portland cases, the disposition of Judd’s case appears an outlier.

5 The D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office also dismissed charges against the one D.C. defendant mentioned by Judd. She allegedly threw a firecracker at police during a Black Lives Matter protest in August 2020. See Affidavit in Support of Arrest Warrant, United States v. Rogers, No. 2020 CF3 006970 (D.C. Super. Ct. dismissed Sept. 30, 2020). The firecracker burned the pant leg of one officer. See id.

6 The Government wisely dropped this argument at the motion hearing. See Hr’g Tr. at 66.

7 By way of comparison, the Court knows of only one January 6 case that the Government has dismissed among the hundreds of defendants charged for their alleged actions on that day. See United States v. Kelly, No. 21-mj-00128 (D.D.C., dismissed on June 1, 2021). [my emphasis]

DC District’s Trumpiest judge here uses diversions most likely necessitated by the legal abuses and bureaucratic incompetence of the Trump Administration to claim that Jan6ers are being treated poorly. He focuses on arrests made, in very significant part, to fulfill Barr’s priority on such prosecutions in summer 2020, while ignoring the legally suspect circumstances created by Barr’s effort to gin up arrests. And he does so even as he refuses discovery that might confirm this most obvious of explanations.

The proper comparison to the cases McFadden focuses on would be to examine the arrests on January 5 and 6 in DC made by Federal officers away from the Capitol, such as Freedom Square. Yet in that case (particularly at the Washington Monument before the riot kicked off), the evidence suggests that Federal officers were far too lenient on Jan 6, even in the nation’s Capitol on Federal land. At least in the three cases as the center of this dispute, the disparate treatment in Portland appears to have come in the arrests outside of Federal property, not the prosecutorial diversions of those arrests later. Such a comparison would make it clear that Federal authorities treated Trump’s supporters far too lightly, not the opposite.

But McFadden has a goal here, one that — as he notes — he has been developing since at least July.

McFadden properly rules that Judd has not shown enough evidence of selective prosecution to get discovery into why these other prosecutions were diverted (in that, he may have been bound by an opinion issued days earlier by Trump appointee Carl Nichols in the Garret Miller case). Both Trump appointees note that Jan 6 is different from Portland for a number of reasons. In fact, McFadden cites Nichols in describing what he sees to be the difference.

Putting aside any claims that January 6 rioters sought to tear down our system of government (an allegation not made against Judd), their actions endangered hundreds of federal officials in the Capitol complex. Members of Congress cowered under chairs while staffers blockaded themselves in offices, fearing physical attacks from the rioters. See Lindsay Wise, Catherine Lucey, and Andrew Restuccia, “The Protestors Are in the Building.” Inside the Capitol Stormed by a Pro-Trump Mob, Wall St. J. (Jan. 6, 2021, 11:53 P.M.).8 The action in Portland, though destructive and ominous, caused no similar threat to civilians. Accord United States v. Miller, No. 21-cr-119 (CBN), slip order at 3 (D.D.C. Dec. 21, 2021) (“Nor did the Portland rioters, unlike those who assailed America’s Capitol in 2021, make it past the buildings’ outer defenses.”). Given the “narrow[ ]” interpretation of “similarly situated,” Stone, 394 F. Supp. 3d at 31, the Court cannot say that the Portland defendants “committed roughly the same crime under roughly the same circumstances” as Judd, Khanu, 664 F. Supp. 2d at 32.

But even after having laid out reasons (but ignoring the legal problems introduced by Federal big-footing in Portland) why you cannot compare Portland and Jan6, McFadden — who, again, invited this challenge — concludes that he will sentence Jan6ers leniently because he’s sure they’re being mistreated. McFadden cites himself saying he’ll account for such disparities at sentencing in the very same paragraph where he denies discovery to find out whether there’s an obvious explanation for such claimed disparities.

None of this suggests that the distinctions Judd highlights are irrelevant for all purposes. “Disparate charging decisions in similar circumstances may be relevant at sentencing.” United States v. Griffin, — F. Supp. 3d —, 2021 WL 2778557 at *7 (D.D.C. July 2, 2021); cf. 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)(6) (“the need to avoid unwarranted sentence disparities among defendants with similar records who have been found guilty of similar conduct”). But on this record, those disparate outcomes fail to justify the discovery he seeks.

Then he cites Merrick Garland thinking he’s being clever.

Justice requires that “like cases be treated alike” and that “there not be one rule for Democrats and another for Republicans.” Merrick Garland, Remarks to DOJ Employees on His First Day, (Mar. 11, 2021).10 Otherwise, prosecutions risk becoming “so unequal and oppressive” as to deny the rights of all. Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356, 373 (1886). Especially during moments of politically charged unrest, the Justice Department must strive for even-handed justice. Judd raises troubling questions about the Department’s adherence to this imperative in Portland. But for the reasons stated above, he has not carried his burden to justify further discovery into the Government’s prosecutions.

Make no mistake what this is: It is an otherwise law-and-order touting Federal Judge announcing, in advance, that he’s going to sentence Jan6ers, people who share his political views, leniently because — he claims, even while refusing to order discovery to prove or disprove his hypothesis — Jan6ers are being badly treated.

And in fact he has already been doing that. When he sentenced Danielle Doyle to two months probation and a fine in October, rather than the three years of probation DOJ sought, he said as much.

Trevor McFadden used this challenge to lay out, for at least the third time, his plan to let Jan6ers off easy, presumably including Judd and his co-defendants, accused of attacking cops over the course of hours. And in the course of doing so, he has suppressed the evidence showing that the disparity, in fact, pertains to overpolicing, not lenient prosecutions, in Portland.

Update: In June DHS provided Ron Wyden with responses to some of his questions about the deployment. They claim they can operate 1-3 blocks from the Federal property which could include all of these arrests.

Practically speaking, DHS personnel deployed to support FPS in protecting federal property in Portland, like the Hatfield U.S. Courthouse, dispersed crowds approximately one to three blocks away from the federal property to secure the perimeter, contain/mitigate fires, treat officer injuries, and otherwise reconstitute facility security.

As set forth above, 40 U.S.C. § 1315 does grant cross-designated law enforcement personnel certain authorities at a distance from federal property. For instance, a cross-designated officer or agent may make arrests without a warrant for any offense against the United States committed in the presence of the officer or agent, or for any felony cognizable under the laws of the United States if the officer or agent has reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be arrested has committed or is committing a felony. Similarly, such an officer or agent may conduct.

After Describing DOJ’s January 6 Language as “Schizophrenic,” Judge Beryl Howell Imposes a Sound Baseline Sentence

In the sentencing hearing for Jack Griffith yesterday, Beryl Howell spent several hours berating the government for the way they’ve charged the January 6 cases. Here’s Zoe Tillman’s coverage of the hearing.

Howell repeatedly expressed puzzlement at how the Justice Department was managing the Jan. 6 cases, especially for defendants charged solely with misdemeanor crimes. She questioned prosecutors using “scorching” rhetoric to describe the severity of the attack on the Capitol while also using words like “trespass” to describe what some defendants, including Griffith, did that day. She described the government’s brief as “almost schizophrenic.”

She also pressed prosecutors to explain why the government was offering plea deals for low-level charges that limited judges’ options at sentencing, especially when prosecutors had articulated that one goal of these cases was to prevent a similar postelection attack on the peaceful transfer of power in the future.

“This is a muddled approach by the government,” she said. It is “no wonder,” she said, that some people “are confused about whether what happened on Jan. 6 was a petty offense of trespassing or shocking criminal conduct that represented a grave threat to our democratic norms.”

Howell’s complaint about the seeming inconsistency between DOJ’s rhetoric on the attack itself and the charges being filed may stem, in part, from the fact that Howell has a greater proportion of misdemeanor defendants than other judges, and so doesn’t see how there’s a continuum among defendants. Of the 30-some defendants whose cases she has, Grady Owens and James McGrew are two of her only more serious cases, plus Nick Ochs and Nick DeCarlo from the Proud Boys.

But her complaint about the way DOJ has tied judges’ hands on sentencing raises an important point. She worried about whether DOJ will really be able to collect restitution payments, given that that normally happens as part of supervised release and these class B misdemeanors don’t permit that (something discussed at length yesterday). And ultimately, she decided that because that’s all Griffith was asked to plead to, she wouldn’t sentence him to jail time, as DOJ had requested.

That said, several minutes after she issued her ruling for a 3 month probationary period, she added a term of supervised release that confused me and others covering it. I think the sentence she did impose — three months in home confinement with a GPS, as part of three years of probation — is not a bad one for those DOJ charges with misdemeanors.

Defendant sentenced on Count 5 to serve a term of thirty-six (36) months Probation which includes a special condition of 90 days of home confinement; Defendant ordered to pay a $10.00 special assessment and restitution in the amount of $500.00; imposition of a fine waived. Government’s oral motion for the dismissal of Counts 2, 3, and 4, granted as to Defendant JACK JESSE GRIFFITH. Bond Status of Defendant: Defendant placed on Probation.

Howell focused closely on deterrence — and argued that sentences without jail time will not adequately deter further events. But Griffith will still face a three month period where his conditions of release are more harsh than they currently have been, outfitted by a GPS. And by sentencing him to an extended probationary period, Howell has limited the degree to which Griffith can engage in armed insurrection.

As it is, the courts are overwhelmed with the number of January 6 defendants. Even without the legitimate challenges to the way DOJ has used obstruction in this case, it’s unlikely they would have been able to charge more felonies. This sentence is a way to limit the possibility Griffith will rejoin an insurrection without submitting him to radicalization in prison.

And as of right now, between Tanya Chutkan’s jail terms and Trevor McFadden’s brief probation terms, the misdemeanor sentences are disconcertingly all over the map. I’m hopeful that this sentence will serve as a better guideline going forward.

There’s one more detail of yesterday’s hearing worth noting. James Pearse, the AUSA in charge of most of the legal issues in this investigation, gave Judge Howell a detailed explanation of how DOJ had come up with the $500 restitution amount (with $2,000 for felony defendants). He described that the Architect of the Capitol came up with a damages amount in May, and DOJ spread that over the estimated number of people who had entered the Capitol. He described their estimate at that point was 2,000 to 2,500.

This means DOJ has come up with the same estimated number as the Sedition Hunters did (as described in this Ryan Reilly piece; click through for links), working off an estimate of flow rate of people coming into the Capitol.

In the weeks after the attack, law enforcement officials estimated that 800 people had entered the Capitol. That number stuck around in media coverage for months, becoming a benchmark against which the FBI’s progress has been measured. The 800 figure has been mentioned in stories as recently as this week.

In reality, as online sleuths have discovered over the past several months, that’s only a fraction of the scope of criminal activity that day. A HuffPost analysis of public-facing data on the Capitol attack, combined with the findings of online investigators working under the #SeditionHunters moniker, shows that the total number of Jan. 6 participants who could face charges if identified tops 2,500.

Federal investigators have quietly ticked up their own estimate. In a budget request earlier this year, the FBI told Congress that “approximately 2000 individuals are believed to have been involved with the siege.” Law enforcement officials did not dispute HuffPost’s 2,500 figure.

That means federal authorities have charged about 25% of the suspects who could face criminal charges for their conduct on Jan. 6. At the current pace, it would take federal authorities until early 2024 to bring cases against 2,500 defendants. And some of the easiest cases to bring, the “low-hanging fruit,” have already been charged.

Online investigators, who have been responsible for identifying countless Jan. 6 defendants and will play a role in dozens of forthcoming FBI cases, have counted more than 2,000 individuals they say breached the Capitol building. These sleuths refer to the people they say they spotted inside the Capitol as “Sedition Insiders,” and have collected the highest-quality image they’ve found of each rioter (even if that photo was snapped while the suspect was outside the Capitol).

When Pearse offered this number, he explained that DOJ didn’t want to explain how it came up with this number — which led me to quip that maybe they had used the Sedition Hunter number. That’s not possible, though, as the calculation predates it. It’s likely, then, that this number relies (at least partly) on the number of trespassers identified using cell tower dumps, which reflect all the phones and Google access, less those who had a legal reason to be in the Capitol.

Ultimately, of course, this means that restitution won’t pay for all the damage to the Capitol, as prosecutors seem to be limiting further misdemeanor arrests to those who serve an investigative purpose (such as to obtain their cell phone for evidence against others).

Unless, of course, prosecutors ultimately move towards holding organizers accountable for the damage their mob incited.

Whatever the case, DOJ continues to fall short of providing compelling explanations of how all the parts of the riot fit together in either public statements or court filings. And on that level, Judge Howell’s complaint deserve closer attention from DOJ.

Jenny Cudd’s Pre- and Post-Riot Endorsement of a Revolution

Jenny Cudd and Eliel Rosa were charged with trespassing together by complaint on January 12 and arrested on January 13. The arrest affidavit tracked how the two of them walked together through the Capitol.

  • At approximately 2:35 p.m., Jenny Louise Cudd and Eliel Rosa, enter the U.S. Capitol via Upper West Terrace Door.
  • At approximately 2:36 p.m., Jenny Louise Cudd and Eliel Rosa are observed inside the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol from the west side doorway that leads into the Rotunda. They are observed remaining inside the Rotunda until approximately 2:39 p.m. They are further observed taking pictures of the Rotunda and the surrounding area.
  • At approximately 2:39 p.m., Jenny Louise Cudd and Eliel Rosa are observed walking across the Statuary Hall area of the U.S. Capitol.
  • At approximately 2:40 p.m., Jenny Louise Cudd and Eliel Rosa are observed walking the Statuary Hall Connector and moves off camera at approximately 2:42 p.m.
  • At approximately 2:43 p.m., Jenny Louise Cudd and Eliel Rosa are observed departing from a large crowd inside the U.S. Capitol in front of the Main Door of the House Chamber and walks east toward the staircase.
  • Jenny Louise Cudd and Eliel Rosa are subsequently observed walking past the staircase and is further observed walking past the Upper House Door, going toward the other entrance to the House Chamber
  • Jenny Louise Cudd and Eliel Rosa are observed at approximately 2:54 p.m. at the Upper House Door and further observed departing the U.S. Capitol.

It described how Cudd filmed a video at the Willard after she returned, boasting that she was present when, “the new revolution started at the Capitol.”

Jenny Cudd stated on the Facebook video that she was at the Willard Hotel, located on 1401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington D.C. 20004. During the course of the video she made the following comments to confirm the location and date of the video recording, “I am sitting in front of the Willard Hotel, as I always do when I am in DC protesting,” and “I was here today on January 6th when the new revolution started at the Capitol.”

It further described an interview Cudd did a few days later, boasting of her actions.

On January 8, 2021, Jenny Louise Cudd participated in an interview with a local news station in which she describes her actions on January 6, 2021, in Washington D.C., to include her admission of entering the U.S. Capitol on the same date. Specifically, Jenny Louise Cudd states during her interview she stated the following, “we walked up the steps and walked inside an open door (referring to the U.S. Capitol).” Jenny Louise Cudd further stated, “we the Patriots did storm the U.S. Capitol.” She added in reference to entering the U.S. Capitol, “Yes, I would absolutely do it again.”

As the arrest affidavit notes, the FBI also interviewed Rosa before arresting the two of them. He confirmed that the two of them had, indeed, entered the Capitol on January 6.

On January 8, 2021, Eliel Rosa was interviewed by the FBI in Midland, Texas. During the interview, Eliel Rosa admitted that he and Jenny Louise Cudd had entered the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

The arrest affidavit focused entirely on events of January 6 and thereafter. And while both Cudd and Rosa were implicated in trespassing, the most damning evidence in the affidavit came from Cudd’s own description of their activity.

On February 3, they were both indicted with their original trespassing charges, as well as obstruction of the vote count and abetting such obstruction.

In March, Cudd moved to sever her case from that of Rosa, arguing in part that by charging them together, the government was attempting, “to create the appearance of a conspiracy or plan.” Specifically, though, Cudd wanted to sever her case from Rosa’s both to prevent his voluntary statement to the FBI from being presented against her, but also to ensure she could cross-examine him to get him to verify that she had no corrupt plan to disrupt the vote count.

Ms. Cudd will seek Mr. Rosa’s exculpatory testimony to show that there was no advance plan for Ms. Cudd to walk into the Capitol, that Ms. Cudd was not aware they were breaking the law by walking around inside, that Ms. Cudd did not act “corruptly,” that Ms. Cudd did not “picket,” that Ms. Cudd was not “disorderly,” that Ms. Cudd did not have the intent to commit any of the offenses alleged, and, more generally and most importantly, to show that Ms. Cudd did not commit any of the offenses of which she is accused. Mr. Rosa’s testimony would support reasonable doubt for each count of the Indictment. Furthermore, Ms. Cudd would be able to examine Mr. Rosa on redirect, to place any government cross examination into context for the fact finder.

In the government response, they largely recited the same facts shown in the arrest affidavit, then noted that Cudd and Rosa traveled from Midland, TX, stayed at the same hotel, and traveled through the Capitol together.

Cudd and Rosa both live in Midland, Texas, and they knew each other prior to January 6, 2021. They checked into the same hotel in Washington, D.C. on January 5, 2021, and checked out on January 7. On January 6, they went to the U.S. Capitol together.

In her reply, Cudd cited from Rosa’s 302, describing that he did not travel to the riot with anyone, and added more details based on the receipts obtained in discovery to make it clear they had not traveled together.

Contrary to the government’s implication that the two traveled together or planned to be at the Capitol together, Mr. Rosa’s interview with the FBI shows they did not. This is further supported by the hotel receipts, which the government obtained and shared with the defense. The Willard Hotel receipts show that rooms for the two co-defendants were booked on different dates and for different prices. (Ms. Cudd paid $143 more for her stay. If they coordinated, she would have surely chosen to save that money and would not have used Expedia for that booking.) The two stayed on different floors and had dinner separately and at different times, according to meal receipts. These were not the only two Trump supporters staying at the Willard Hotel from January 5-7. A large number of other Trump supporters shared those booking dates at the Willard. And, while the two may have known each other from back home and shared political views, that is not a basis for joinder. The entire crowd of Trump supporters, many of whom stayed at the Willard Hotel, were present at the Capitol. They are not charged together.

After the government had provided some discovery, including the contents of two phones, the government response to a request from Cudd that it identify all the exhibits it would use in its case in chief repeated the same facts laid out in the original arrest affidavit, all focused on January 6 and thereafter. The response also said it was far too early for Cudd to demand a list of exhibits that would be used against her at trial.

Shortly after Cudd’s request to learn precisely which exhibits the government would use at trial, Eliel Rosa entered into a plea agreement with an expiration date of July 29, pleading guilty to 40 USC 5104, the lesser of the two trespassing charges used with January 6 defendants. His statement of offense narrated what he and Cudd saw and heard as they wandered through the Capitol together. Specifically, he described hearing gunshots and seeing a bunch of people banging on doors, possibly the doors to the Speaker’s Lobby.

While inside of the U.S. Capitol, Mr. Rosa heard two gunshots and saw 15 to 20 men banging on assorted doors. These men were wearing “MAGA” gear.

In addition to implicating Cudd in his own trespassing, Rosa also noted that he did not have any evidence as to Cudd’s intent when she entered the Capitol.

Mr. Rosa has reviewed the allegations in the indictment that relate to his codefendant, Jenny Cudd, and admits that the allegations are true, or that he does not have sufficient information to dispute or disprove those allegations set forth the indictment. Specifically, this includes that Mr. Rosa does not have information as to Ms. Cudd’s motive and intent when she entered the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 or whether Ms. Cudd had the intent to corruptly obstruct, influence, or impede an official proceeding before Congress – to wit: Congress’s Electoral College Certification on that date.

This might be seen as exculpatory for Cudd, precisely the kind of testimony she hoped to elicit from Rosa at any trial. But it also protected Rosa from any implication in whatever intent Cudd did have when she went to the Capitol.

The government’s sentencing memo for Rosa provided more details about the friendship between Rosa and Cudd, which Rosa described to be a recent friendship.

In an interview with the FBI, Mr. Rosa explained his relationship to his co-defendant Jenny Cudd. Mr. Rosa and Ms. Cudd are new friends, who met at an event in November 2020. Mr. Rosa explained that he and his co-defendant Jenny Cudd held similar beliefs. Although the two were not travel companions, they both discussed their plans to travel to Washington, D.C. and stayed in the same hotel in separate rooms.

It also describes how both returned to the Willard after Trump’s speech, and only then did Rosa decide to go to the Capitol (this detail was used against him at his sentencing).

In the afternoon on January 6, 2021, after listening to President Trump’s speech, Mr. Rosa returned to his hotel, however, he decided he would follow others heading toward the Capitol after learning that Vice President Pence was not going to take action. Mr. Rosa met with his friend Ms. Cudd at the hotel and together they marched toward the United States Capitol where he knew the Congressional certification was taking place.

Rosa’s own sentencing memo explains that the gunshot referred to in his statement of offense was probably the fatal shot of Ashli Babbitt, thereby seemingly confirming that he witnessed a bunch of people in MAGA hats banging on a door before Babbitt was shot.

When he got to the Capitol he walked in through an open door and followed the flow of people going through the rotunda and towards the East gate. He heard what he believes to have been the shot that killed Ms. Babitt. After being asked to stand against the wall for a short period of time while officers dealt with that situation, he (and others) were asked to leave out the East door, and he complied immediately.

Rosa’s sentencing memo also makes clear that he posted nothing positive about the riot after he attended it; a photo he posted to Facebook stating, “And we fight,” was posted at 5:22AM that morning.

On Tuesday, Judge McFadden sentenced Rosa to a year of probation, less than the month of home confinement the government requested (I thought I heard McFadden impose more community service than the government had asked for, 100 hours instead of 60, but no reference to community service appears in the docket).

Hours later, the notice that Cudd would plead guilty posted to the docket. Her plea offer was dated September 27, with a deadline of acceptance of October 11, a day earlier (and indeed, the signatures on the plea agreement are dated October 11). Because Cudd pled guilty to the more serious trespassing misdemeanor than Rosa, it meant that language permitting the government to ask for a terrorism enhancement was included as boilerplate in her plea agreement and given Marina Medvin’s complaints at the plea colloquy, nothing Medvin tried to do managed to get it removed.

Cudd’s statement of offense included a detail that may not appear anywhere else. Not only did she admit under oath she knew the vote was going to be certified (something Rosa also attested to), but she admitted under oath that at the the Stop the Steal rallies on January 5, she heard people calling for revolution and then stated that she was “all for it.”

On January 5, 2021, Ms. Cudd stated the following in a video on social media: “a lot of . . . the speakers this evening were calling for a revolution. Now I don’t know what y’all think about a revolution, but I’m all for it. . . . Nobody actually wants war, nobody wants bloodshed, but the government works for us and unfortunately it appears that they have forgotten that, quite a lot. So, if a revolution is what it takes then so be it. Um, I don’t know if that is going to kick off tomorrow or not, we shall see what the powers that be choose to do with their powers and we shall see what it is that happens in Congress tomorrow at our United States Capitol. So, um either way I think that either our side or the other side is going to start a revolution.”

It’s not clear whether Rosa knew of this video or saw it before he stated that he had no evidence about her intent on the day of the riot.

Cudd’s statement of offense admits that she was in the vicinity of the Babbitt shooting (without specifying it as such), but doesn’t describe (as Rosa’s did) being held up while police dealt with the aftermath.

The government produced to the defense evidence that showed that Ms. Cudd and Mr. Rosa continued walking through the Statuary Hall area of the U.S. Capitol, until 2:43 p.m., when they moved toward the House Chamber and connecting hallways; the defense does not dispute this evidence.

Thus, while Cudd’s statement of offense notes that she did not, herself, enter Pelosi’s office, the statement she recorded after the riot stating that, “we did break down the Nancy Pelosi’s office door,” would have taken place after those with Ashli Babbit had done more than $1,000 of damage to the doors to the Speaker’s lobby, something charged against at least three of those present, and something that could carry a terrorist enhancement for those who did the damage.

We did break down the Nancy Pelosi’s office door and somebody stole her gavel and took a picture sitting in the chair flipping off the camera. . . . they had to evacuate it before we charged the Capitol. . . . Fuck yes, I am proud of my actions, I fucking charged the Capitol today with patriots today. Hell yes I am proud of my actions.” Despite Ms. Cudd’s statement, there is no evidence that Ms. Cudd entered Nancy Pelosi’s office and no evidence that Ms. Cudd stole any property from the Capitol.

The next day, January 8, Cudd explained why she used the collective “we” in her statement from the day of the riot, seemingly trying to distance herself from some of the violence yet still describing that “the patriots [collectively] stormed the Capitol” and asserting she would do the same again, even after she was (at least per Rosa’s statement of offense) present in the vicinity of the Babbitt killing.

So if you watch the entire video [referring to her January 6 social media video] and you watch any of my videos you know that the way that I speak is that I always say we. So I say we the patriots, we . . . whatever. I always say we so those things did happen by other people but I was not a part of that. But in reference to it that umm we the patriots stormed the Capitol and some people went into different offices and different things like that . . . . I would do it again in a heartbeat because I did not break any laws.

The new language in Cudd’s statement of offense — describing the speakers calling for revolution — will help DOJ make a case (one they’ve already started to lay out) about the premeditation reflected in those who gave speeches on January 5.

But it also shows that she responded to calls for revolution the day before the riot by endorsing the idea, and then after the riot, she returned to the Willard and bragged she had been present when the revolution was started, ““I was here today on January 6th when the new revolution started at the Capitol.”

Marina Medvin’s Client Signs a Plea with the Potential of a Terrorism Enhancement

Marina Medvin is the sweet spot of January 6 lawyers. She’s a legit lawyer, doing particularly good work trying to challenge the asymmetrical access defendants get to security video of the attack. She clearly serves the interests of her clients rather than grifting or focusing more on scoring political points, as some other January 6 defense attorneys appear to do. But she’s also a right wing activist in her own right.

As such, she spends a great deal of time calling people she doesn’t like “terrorists.”

She uses debunked claims about (foreign) terrorists to try to sow fear about immigration.

She spends a great deal of time demanding that the 9/11 attackers be called terrorists.

She calls the evacuation of Afghans who helped the US fight terrorism the importation of terrorists.

She labels Joe Biden’s effort to craft a positive outcome out of Donald Trump’s capitulation to the Taliban as negotiating with terrorists.

She holds protestors accountable for those they affiliate with who call for violence.

She even complains when those held as — and those guarding — terrorists get treated humanely.

Yesterday, with the benefit of Medvin’s able counsel, her client Jenny Louise Cudd pled guilty under a plea agreement that permits the government to ask for a terrorism enhancement under U.S.S.G. § 3A1.4 at sentencing.

To be sure, I agree with Medvin’s assessment yesterday that it is unlikely the government will actually push for this enhancement with Cudd (and I think it even more unlikely that Judge Trevor McFadden would side with such a government request). This appears to be a standard part of any January 6 plea agreement involving sentencing calculations but no cooperation agreement; one thing cooperators are getting — especially those in militia conspiracy cases — is an assurance they won’t been deemed terrorists at sentencing.

Still, Cudd won’t be sentenced until March, and the government may have a far more complete story to tell about the attempted revolution that Cudd applauded by then, a story that will likely incorporate some of the facts to which Cudd admitted under oath yesterday. You never know what DOJ will do or Judge McFadden might find plausible by then.

I raise the terrorism enhancement language in Cudd’s plea agreement not because I think she’ll be treated as one come sentencing (thus far, I think Scott Fairlamb is at greatest risk of that, because his statement of offense admitted both to using violence and to his intent to intimidate those certifying the vote). Rather, I raise it to show that even a right wing activist like Medvin agrees with my reading of the language in these plea agreements. The government is reserving the right to treat these defendants, even someone who pled down to a trespassing misdemeanor like Cudd, as terrorists at sentencing. To be clear: Medvin doesn’t think this will work legally nor does she think her client is implicated in the violence of those with whom she chose to affiliate on January 6, but that is what she described the language effectively means in Cudd’s plea hearing.

Such terrorism enhancements are how domestic terrorists get labeled as terrorists. Because domestic terrorist groups like the Proud Boys or Oath Keepers aren’t labeled as (foreign) terrorist groups by the State Department, affiliation with or abetment of those groups is not per se illegal (as it might be under material support statutes for foreign terrorist organizations). It’s not until sentencing, then, that the government can argue and a judge might agree that the specific crime a person committed involved acts dangerous to human life, and (in the case of January 6) an attempt to intimidate or coerce the policy of government. If the judge does agree, a terrorist enhancement could expose the defendant to a much longer sentence as a result, a guidelines range of 121 to 151 months for someone with no criminal history.

This is a detail that has gone almost entirely unreported elsewhere: that DOJ is building in an ability to treat these defendants as terrorists when it comes to sentencing, sentencing that may be five months in the future.

Mind you, since this would be domestic terrorism, the government could not just wildly label someone as a terrorist for attending a protest at which others present espouse violence, as Medvin has done of Muslims. They’d have to lay out a specific intent on the part of the defendant to threaten force to coerce some political outcome. But if they do so with these January 6 defendants, then they may be legally branded as terrorists for their actions on January 6.

What is the appropriate sanction for a “pawn” who participated in a coup attempt?

One thing I informally track in January 6 guilty pleas is education level. At the beginning of most change of plea hearings, as part of an effort to substantiate competence to plead guilty, most judges ask, “How far did you go in school?” I first started to take note when Oath Keeper Graydon Young replied that he has a graduate degree. He’s a dramatic outlier. Since then, my very informal tracking of this detail has shown that very very few of the January 6 defendants who’ve pled guilty so far have a four year degree (others who do include but are not limited to Cleveland Meredith Jr, Jenna Ryan, and Andrew Ericson, the latter of whom finished a CompSci degree since the riot).

I track this demographic not out of intellectual snobbery. I know of some absolutely brilliant people who didn’t finish school (a close family member has been very successful without finishing college, and a good number of the smartest students in the 600 student high school class of which I was valedictorian dropped out short of graduation).

Rather, it’s that based on this unscientific observation, the January 6 defendants who’ve pled guilty are, demographically, dramatically less likely to have a four-year degree than the US population, closer to 10% (perhaps 8 of the 96 people who’ve pled guilty) than the 36% that one might expect of the population more broadly. To be sure, this is not scientific. At least two DC judges don’t ask this question, and my count reflects only those hearings where I was personally listening or another journalist who has become aware of my focus on it has noted it. Plus, there may be reasons why people with less education plead guilty earlier, such as that more of them make up those charged with misdemeanor trespassing. But even Brandon Straka, one of the leaders of the larger Trump movement, described that he went through 12th grade and then got a vocational degree at his change of plea.

January 6 defendants seem disproportionately white and rural, but they also appear to be less educated than the country as a whole, even those who’ve had a good deal of financial success.

I raise all that as background to the sentencing memo for Jack Griffith submitted overnight by Heather Shaner, the same defense attorney who convinced Anna Morgan-Lloyd to do some book reports before sentencing (after which Morgan-Lloyd went straight to Fox News to disclaim her stated remorse).

Shaner doesn’t really address the government’s request for a three month jail term.

Griffith pled guilty to one count of 40 U.S.C. § 5104(e)(2)(G): Parading, Demonstrating, or Picketing in the Capitol Building. As explained below, a custodial sentence is appropriate in this case because Griffith committed his January 6th crime in a manner that trivialized the severity  of the chaotic and dangerous attack, and his later self-promotion and commentary about his participation in the riot demonstrates continued pride in his actions. Griffith had many opportunities to remove himself from the disorder of January 6th but was all too happy to continue his participation. Following his arrest, his casual attitude toward these criminal proceedings demonstrated a lack of respect for this Court—worrying only that he did not want to appear too “cocky” that it was all going to go well for him. By minimizing the seriousness of his conduct, Griffith fails to recognize the harm he caused to his country, the law enforcement officers who were trying to defend it, and others who were working at the Capitol to carry out a Constitutionally mandated process for the peaceful transfer of power

Instead, Shaner focused on what the January 6 riot was, describing it as a coup attempt fomented by people who deliberately manipulated people online.

What occurred on January 6, 2021 was not a naturally developed political protest. It was, I believe, a coup attempt–fomented intentionally by right wing actors who used data mining and psychological manipulation. Vulnerable individuals were identified and persuaded through the internet that it was their patriotic duty to come to Washington to support Trump. In Washington, they were emboldened and ushered down the avenue to “Stop the Steal” and to storm the Capitol.

It is fitting and appropriate to arrest those who participated in the attempted coup. The difficult question is what is the appropriate sanction for a pawn who personally did no physical damage nor assaulted law enforcement– but nonetheless participated in the riot. As Fiona Hill recently stated the “main threats” to democracy come from right-wing actors who are deliberately undermining faith in the “integrity of the election system” and “calling for violence against fellow Americans.” Among the thousands who came to Washington in January and have since been arrested– few among the arrested are the people described by Ambassador Hill. Of the several individuals I have been appointed to represent—none are informed, intentional political actors. Four of the individuals I represent are very young—were heavily reliant on the internet—were uniformed and misinformed. Two individuals suffer from diagnosed mental diseases. The balance of individuals I have come to know and to respect are vulnerable, politically unsophisticated individuals, who are truly confounded by what is happening in our country. Good people with no criminal history—our neighbors– who were fed cynical and dangerous misinformation which destroyed their faith in the integrity of the election system. People who wrongly believed they could save America.

I think Shaner’s description of the event is sound. But I’m not sure she, or anyone, knows the answer to her question: What we do about pawns mobilized for a coup attempt, particularly in the absence of any accountability (yet) for the more powerful coup plotters.

Shaner argues that probation is appropriate for Griffith for two reasons. First, to avoid making a martyr of him.

We should not make pariahs or martyrs of these men and women.

But also to provide a period in which more education can occur.

To save our Union we must be wise. We must be compassionate. We must listen. We must provide the opportunity for the approximately 550 charged misdemeanants to receive more education, and to encourage each of them to study history and to gain civic literacy. Only knowledge—truth based on facts– can foster change. At this critical moment of civil discord and domestic contention –if it is still possible to create a more perfect Union –it must be through education. We cannot force people to learn. But during Probation, we can provide the impetus and the opportunity of continuing education.

This is an argument not about Jack Griffith (and because she’s pitching this to Chief Judge Beryl Howell, who asked with this defendant why DOJ hadn’t charged him more aggressively, it’s unlikely to work). It’s an argument about what the path forward needs to be.

Few people besides Shaner think probation can accomplish what she envisions here (though a three year term of probation will keep defendants supervised and prohibited from owning guns through the next Presidential election). Indeed, the two judges imposing most disparate sentences for trespassers so far, Tanya Chutkan (who has sentenced two trespassers, including Anna Morgan-Lloyd’s buddy, Dona Bissey, to jail terms in the last week), and Trevor McFadden (who has sentenced defendants to far shorter terms of probation than the government asked for, though with extra on top) have come out against probation for these defendants. Chutkan believes Probation is simply too overtaxed to deal with the influx of all these trespassers. McFadden seems to believe what he sees as a debt to society can better be paid through a fine (he imposed the only fine thus far on Danielle Doyle) or community service (which he imposed on Eliel Rosa); McFadden also believes that January 6 defendants are being treated more harshly than other rioters.

Meanwhile, in the case of Robert Reeder, who was first charged with trespassing then, at the last minute, discovered to have assaulted a cop and downplayed that to the FBI, got sentenced to just three months in jail by Thomas Hogan, rather than the six months prosecutors requested rather than charging him with that assault.

I don’t know the answer to Shaner’s question. And I badly wish that Prettyman Courthouse were fully open so I could assume that judges were hashing this out over lunch in their judge’s lunchroom. I know that there are a significant portion of defendants who really were just engaged in the kind of civil disobedience I don’t want criminalized. Though I also know that as DOJ has pushed to move through the misdemeanors and accepted downward pleas from those charged more seriously for a variety of reasons, it has fostered seeming inequities among the growing group of trespassers being sentenced.

Whether or not Shaner is right about Griffith, she’s right about what happened: Coup plotters used conspiracy theories to mobilize thousands, as if in a cult, to storm the Capitol. We need deprogramming as much as we need jail time. And our criminal justice system is probably ill-suited to provide either.

David Judd Claims He’s Not Being Treated as Well as the Teenager Who Got Murdered

David Judd is accused of, among other things, throwing a lit firecracker at cops as part of the Tunnel fight on January 6.

He is charged as part of the McCaughey omnibus superseding indictment covering the sustained assault that lasted from 1:08 PM through 4:19 PM with the following charges:

  • With Tristan Stevens, attempting to impede an officer from 2:56 to 2:58 PM (Count 16)
  • With assault for throwing the firecracker at 3:06 (Count 22)
  • With Tristan Stevens, assault involving physical contact from 4:15 to 4:19 PM (Count 33)
  • Obstruction, with all his co-defendants (Count 34)
  • Civil disorder, with all his co-defendants (Count 35)
  • Disorderly conduct with a dangerous weapon on grounds where the Vice President was present (Count 38)
  • Engaging in physical violence on grounds where the Vice President was present (Count 46)
  • Disorder conduct in a Capitol Building, with all his co-defendants (Count 52)
  • Act of physical violence in a Capitol Grounds or Building with all his co-defendants (Count 53)

The government attempted to get Judd held pre-trial. But his attorney Elizabeth Mullin succeeded in getting him released to home detention.

He recently filed the second bid by a January 6 defendant to compel discovery to prove that he is being selectively prosecuted as compared with people arrested in conjunction with Portland riots.

Most of the January 6 defendants were vocal supporters of then-President Donald Trump, a Republican, and were protesting Congress’s certification of Democrat Joseph Biden Jr. as the winner of the November presidential election. Many individuals – though not Mr. Judd – then breached the Capitol building with the intent of interrupting Congress’s certification of the election results. Mr. Judd and the rest of the January 6 defendants are being prosecuted by a Democratic administration.

Based on the charging decisions and outcomes sought by the government in Mr. Judd’s case, Mr. Judd believes he has a colorable claim of selective prosecution when contrasted with the government’s charging and prosecutorial decision-making in violent riots in Portland, Oregon in 2020 as well as at least one D.C. riot case in 2020.

In it, he repeatedly claimed he never entered the Capitol (even though he clearly entered the Tunnel).

Eventually a substantial number – though not Mr. Judd – breached and entered the Capitol building.

[snip]

Mr. Judd never entered the Capitol building, he did not bring any weapons to the Capitol,

And he acknowledges that there is abundant video evidence against him, unlike many of those charged in Portland (which is how DOJ distinguished the last attempt to claim selective prosecution failed — there is simply far more evidence against January 6 defendants).

Of course, much of the evidence against Mr. Judd will be video evidence.

Nevertheless, Trevor McFadden — who in a recent sentencing hearing for Danielle Doyle, claimed that DOJ was treating January 6 defendants differently than last summer’s prosecutors, only to be publicly debunked by the AP — showed great interest in Judd’s claim in a status hearing yesterday, going so far as to explain what Judd needed to do in his reply motion (the government has not yet submitted a response) to succeed.

I’ve barely started examining the table Judd submitted with his motion, which lists slightly more than half — 39 of the 74 — people he says were charged in an attack on the Portland Federal Courthouse; I assume (and hope) prosecutors are doing a far more thorough job, because it’s important for McFadden to understand many public claims about these other riots are false.

Certain problems with Judd’s claims — on top of the evidentiary differences and the fact that rioters were not attempting to stop an event over which the Vice President was present and presiding — are quite clear.

For example, the case that Judd says is most similar, in which Ty Fox is being prosecuted for throwing a firecracker, Fox is being detained pre-trial and prosecuted by the state of Oregon with his federal charges continued pending that case.

On September 23, 2021, I spoke with AUSA Thomas Ratcliffe concerning Mr. Fox. Mr. Ratcliffe is unopposed to a 90-day continuance of this matter. After our call, Mr. Ratcliffe provided me with a copy of a letter outlining a potential resolution of Mr. Fox’s federal case based on the Government’s Petite Policy for successive prosecution.

I met with Mr. Fox on September 24, 2021, at MCDC -Portland, where he is being held on state charges. During our meeting, Mr. Fox authorized the Federal Public Defender to transfer his file to me. His file, and the discovery, should be forthcoming. I will need time to review and analyze the evidence and offense.

A number of the others appear to have been dismissed for evidentiary reasons (that is, precisely the reason why — DOJ argued — that it is easier to prosecute Jan 6 defendants, because there is far better evidence, which Judd as much as concedes by noting the video evidence against him in his filing).

But even more telling, Judd included the other most similar case to his own, in which Isaiah Maza Jr. allegedly took a firecracker during a mob attack on a Federal building and threw it into a the doorway of the courthouse, which injured an officer (who may not have been visible to Maza). Maza was charged with assault as well as damaging a federal building, a crime of terrorism. By including Maza in this table, Judd is arguing that Maza was treated differently than he is being because a Democratic Administration is giving him favorable treatment.

It is true that the charges against Maza were dismissed. But they were dismissed — as Judd himself admits — because Maza died.

What Judd doesn’t admit is that Maza was murdered.

Nineteen-year-old Isaiah Jason Maza Jr. was on a pass from his inpatient alcohol treatment at the Oregon Recovery Center when he was fatally stabbed near his mother’s home Sunday in Northeast Portland.

Maza had been released in September pending trial on federal charges for allegedly tossing an explosive through a broken window of the federal courthouse downtown in July and injuring a deputy U.S. marshal.

His mother, his defense lawyer and even prosecutors said Maza had been doing everything right while on release.

He had a job at Macy’s, was taking his treatment seriously, had applied to Portland State University to continue his education and was fighting to get visitation rights with his young daughter, whose name he had tattooed on his neck.

His mother Renee Maza said she was making dinner Sunday night when her son and his girlfriend wanted to walk to a nearby corner store to buy Takis chips.

“I don’t ever let my kids walk at night here,” Renee Maza said Monday. “It’s a bad area. I usually drive them. But I was cooking and I said to him, ‘There are a lot of thugs out there. You know how I feel about walking.’ He said to me, ‘Mama, I’ll be safe. We are just getting chips. I love you.’’’

Isaiah Maza didn’t get far. He was stabbed around 5:30 p.m. near Northeast 120th Avenue and Couch Street outside an apartment complex next to his mother’s home, according to the teen’s girlfriend and mother.

This is Judd’s argument: that he’s not being treated fairly because he wasn’t doubly charged in violation of federal practice and because he wasn’t murdered before standing trial.

Again, I’ve barely scratched the surface of the cases that Judd claims are similar. But thus far, his argument amounts to claiming that he’s being treated unfairly because another guy got murdered.

The *How* of Owen Shroyer’s Arrest

About an hour after I wrote this in my post on the problems with a Reuters article about the January 6 investigation…

Because of the other problems with this article, I don’t know what to make of the single piece of news in it. As noted above, a former senior law enforcement official claims that, “there was no grand scheme with Roger Stone and Alex Jones and all of these people to storm the Capitol and take hostages.” That makes sense with respect to Alex Jones; his videographer was arrested long ago and remains charged only with trespass.

Zoe Tillman first reported that InfoWars’ Owen Shroyer had been charged. A picture from the affidavit shows Shroyer on stage with Alex Jones and (though he’s harder to see) Ali Alexander, a key organizer for the events underlying the riot. Jones and Alexander were critically responsible for bringing the crowd first to DC and then to the Capitol, and Jones also allegedly paid for some of the rally (at a time when his show was in real financial trouble).

How DOJ charged Shroyer — at this point, just for trespassing charges — is as interesting that they did.

Shroyer is not alleged to have gone into the Capitol. The closest the affidavit places him is on the East side steps, right behind Jones and (I believe) with Alexander right in front of Jones.

The inclusion of this picture reminds me of how often Oath Keepers filings talk about the others who were also on the East side at the time they breached the Capitol.

Not entering the Capitol is not itself a bar on charges. After all, Couy Griffin was charged for his presence on the West steps, charges that Trevor McFadden didn’t throw out when he had a chance.

But Shroyer is a media personality with a claim to being a journalist. So DOJ offers more to justify it.

As the affidavit lays out, back during Impeachment 1.0 on December 9, 2019, Shroyer got himself arrested for accusing Jerry Nadler of treason.

He wasn’t charged for that until January 17, 2020, and so didn’t resolve the case with a Deferred Prosecution Agreement until February 25, 2020. What happened with Shroyer is what other January 6 defendants claim should have happened to them: misdemeanor charges in DC Superior Court, followed by a deferral.

As part of Shroyer’s DPA, he was required to do 32 hours — just four days! — of community service. He seems to have fiddled around with what entity he was going to do service with, but at one point he claimed he was going to do it with the Sinai Pentecostal Church’s Reverend Samuel Montoya, who also happens to be the father of InfoWars’ videographer, who himself got arrested in April.

Which is another way of saying that Shroyer was dicking around with the meager community service he was required to do as part of his DPA.

The other part of Shroyer’s DPA, aside from the community service he was clearly dodging, was a requirement that he not similarly engage in such disorderly conduct again at the “Capitol,” which was defined by a map that Shroyer signed, which actually may be broader than the protected space that DOJ is charging in the January 6 cases (and so easily encompasses the stage on which Shroyer appeared with Alex Jones).

Due to the nature of the offense, the DPA included the following special conditions for SHROYER:

1. The defendant agrees not to utter loud, threatening, or abusive language, or to engage in any disorderly or disruptive conduct, at any place upon the United States Capitol Grounds or within any of the Capitol Buildings with intent to impede, disrupt, or disturb the orderly conduct of any session of the Congress or either House thereof, or the orderly conduct within any such building of any hearing before, or any deliberations of, any committee or subcommittee of the Congress or either House thereof.

2. The defendant agrees not to parade, demonstrate, or picket within any of the Capitol Buildings. 3. The term “Capitol Buildings” means the United States Capitol, the Senate and House Office Buildings and garages, the Capitol Power Plant, all subways and enclosed passages connecting 2 or more of such structures, and the real property underlying and enclosed by any such structure.

In addition, the term “United States Capitol Grounds” was defined to include an area delineated in a map attached to the DPA spanning the Capitol grounds from 3rd Street NW on the west side of the Capitol building, to 2nd Street SE on the east side of the Capitol building (see Exhibit A). SHROYER and his attorney each signed an Acceptance and Attorney’s Acknowledgement, respectively, for the DPA. As a result of the DPA, SHROYER had special knowledge of what areas in Washington, D.C. in and around the U.S. Capitol constituted the U.S. Capitol Grounds. [my emphasis]

In other words, whereas the thousands of other people participating in the January 6 riot might believe they’d only get into trouble if they walked in the building, Shroyer had notice that the protected grounds were broader than that. And he not only may have been subject to a broader protected grounds than those other thousands of people, but it was a violation of his DPA to do it.

Plus, the government claims he played fast and loose with his community service, which meant that even though his crime was committed on December 9, 2019, his DPA remained in place until … well, it’s still in place because Shroyer did only 30 hours, rather than 32 hours, of community service, but it certainly was in place on January 6, because he had done none of his community service at that point.

As of January 6, 2021, the DPA remained in effect. SHROYER had not completed, nor reported the completion of, any of the 32 hours of community service as required pursuant to the DPA. On February 5, 2021, counsel for SHROYER emailed the Government to report that SHROYER allegedly “has completed his 32 hours of community service.” An attached log provided by SHROYER’s counsel reported that SHROYER, in fact, performed only 30 hours of community service beginning on January 19, 2021 through February 4, 2021. Thus, as of January 6, 2021, SHROYER had not completed any hours of community service as required by the DPA, and as of February 5, 2021, his community service obligation remained incomplete.

The rest of this arrest affidavit is gratuitous, a speaking document to nod to where they might go with him. After all, Shroyer was uniquely prohibited from entering the grounds and being an asshole on January 6. That’s all the government would need to charge him.

But the rest is interesting because it clearly lays out evidence — at a minimum! — that he could be charged with obstruction because he specifically talked about obstructing the vote certification on January 5.

SHROYER traveled to Washington, D.C. in January 2021, and in advance of January 6, 2021, spoke of stopping the certification of the Electoral College vote. In a video1 posted to the Infowars website on January 5, 2021, SHROYER gave an address in Freedom Plaza in Washington D.C., during which he stated: “Americans are ready to fight. We’re not exactly sure what that’s going to look like perhaps in a couple of weeks if we can’t stop this certification of the fraudulent election . . . we are the new revolution! We are going to restore and we are going to save the republic!”

In another video2 posted to the Infowars website on January 5, 2021, SHROYER called into an Infowars live broadcast and said: “what I’m afraid of is if we do not get this false certification of Biden stopped this week. I’m afraid of what this means for the rest of the month . . . Everybody knows election was stolen . . . are we just going to sit here and become activists for 4 years or are going to actually do something about this . . . whatever that cause or course of cause may be?”3

That is, this is where these charges could go, once they arrest Shroyer and maybe even search his phone. They’re not charging it here — and Shroyer was legally entitled to be an asshole at Freedom Plaza on January 5, as opposed to the Capitol. But they’re making it clear where they could go.

I suspect they hoped to arrest Shroyer at a status hearing scheduled for today, but he didn’t show.

Shroyer was supposed to appear in DC Superior Court on Friday for a hearing to update the judge on the status of his case, but he did not show up, according to the docket. The prosecutor didn’t ask for a bench warrant to arrest him for failing to appear, and the judge set another hearing for Sept. 23. A lawyer listed as counsel for Shroyer said that was a mistake and he was not involved in the case.

Instead, he announced the charges on his InfoWars show, looking a hell of a lot more panicked than a well-funded white guy facing misdemeanor trespass charges should be, even as a recidivist.

This is just one of 580 arrest affidavits accusing someone of trespassing. But it certainly seems to be more than that.

Update: In my post on how one would prosecute Donald Trump, I noted that DOJ has been coy about what went down at a December 12 Stop the Steal rally, probably because (I mused) they haven’t included Enrique Tarrio in any of the conspiracy indictments. As Just Security reported back in February, Shroyer was part of that event, too.

In the video, Owen Shroyer, an Infowars personality, speaks to the crowd on a bullhorn. He is standing next to Tarrio. Shroyer hands Stone the bullhorn. Stone gives brief remarks standing beside Nordean, who appears to have his hand on Stone’s shoulder. “We will fight to the bitter end for an honest count of the 2020 election. Never give up, never quit, never surrender, and fight for America!” Stone tells the crowd. After his brief remarks, Stone passes the bullhorn back to Shroyer. Tarrio joins Stone and Nordean. Tarrio and Stone engage in an inaudible dialogue as Shroyer continues to rouse the crowd. “We got stabbed in the back by the Supreme Court tonight,” shouts Shroyer. “This was never their revolution. This is our revolution!”

Update: Apparently the stage on which Owen and Jones were is within what DOJ is treating as restricted area, but thus far has not arrested anyone for. I do believe it is the case, however, that Owen’s restricted area is larger than the one DOJ has used for January 6.

Update: Corrected that Reverend Montoya is the father of videographer Sam Montoya, per JK.