The FBI and the Department of Justice may not charge some of the rioters who participated in the January 6 Capitol insurrection.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, federal law enforcement officials are privately debating if they shouldn’t charge some of the hundreds of Trump supporters who stormed their way into the U.S. capitol earlier this month.
They’re concerned that the hundreds of cases would flood local courthouses.
As for now, discussions are in the early stages, and a decision has not been made, sources close to the matter said.
Federal officials have worked hard to identify and arrest those who participated in the riot, as they promised they would. However, charging every person may not be the best course of action, sources stated.
It has been estimated that roughly 800 people forced their way into the historic building.
Thanks to pictures, videos, and witnesses, officials learned that some rioters vandalized the property, some arrived in military battle gear, and others were just following the crowd. Some officials say the latter group that unlawfully entered the building, but did not act violently or pose threats should not be charged.
But some agents beg to differ. In their opinion, a message should be sent, and rioters should be the example that that kind of violence and destruction will not be tolerated. Therefore, everyone involved should be punished to the full extent of the law, the news outlet reported.
The DOJ has already charged one hundred thirty-five people for committing crimes in or on the capitol grounds. Many more are expected to follow over the next weeks and months.
Federal agents will primarily focus on which individuals helped plan the attack and urged for violence. Prosecutors are looking to charge them with seditious conspiracy—which has a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
The FBI has already found concerning connections of some extremist groups including, the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and Three Percenters. It is looking to see if those groups coordinated with each other to storm the building.
Investigators anticipate some rioters will eventually work with them and provide evidence against others.
There may be plea deals for those that are only charged with unlawful entry.