Federal prosecutors get the green light to start offering plea deals to Capitol riot defendants, attorneys say

Federal prosecutors get the green light to start offering plea deals to Capitol riot defendants, attorneys say

The attorneys involved have long recognized that much of the evidence in the Capitol riot is not controversial enough to be tried – especially since so much is on video – and that much of the more than 350 people charged want their legal proceedings to end quickly. But cases stalled for weeks as the Justice Department figured out what it was ready to offer and prompted attorneys to ask for delays in many legal proceedings.

It is not yet clear which or how many defendants may receive pleading agreements, and they have not yet been offered to all interested defendants at the time, the lawyers told CNN. Attorneys speaking to CNN described deals for defendants with offenses rather than the cases with more serious charges.

The hang-up so far seems to have been at least partly due to how unusual the Capitol cases are: there are hundreds, each with many hours of video evidence, and charges range from equivalents of trespassing and vandalism crimes to more severe violence and violent conspiracy charges.

“There is no formula that says ‘OK, they will offer that’,” said a defense attorney, who was still waiting for a possible offer for his client, on Thursday evening. “These cases don’t fit a matrix we’re used to,” added the lawyer.

In the past few days, the Justice Department has been on the verge of signing contracts with Capitol Riot defendants, including placing staff to help with their major cases. However, the management of the department had not signed off. For example, in the Oath Keepers conspiracy case, a public prosecutor told a federal judge on Tuesday that the leadership was still discussing pleading agreements through their line managers. And in a lawsuit filed Monday in the case of a heavy metal guitarist in collaboration talks, prosecutors admitted that the Capitol insurgency treaties “require extensive scrutiny and approval at various levels of government, taking more time than usual for which require approval and negotiation “.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment on Thursday.

It is not yet clear whether prosecutors have the authority to do business with defendants in the major conspiracy cases against the Oath Guards and the proud boys.

Next week it will be 100 days since the uprising. Several defendants identified as violent, obstructive, or a threat to public safety are awaiting trial from prison. Overall, judges and attorneys have recognized that the January 6th Capitol revolt sparked one of the largest and most intense investigations in American history.