A team is examining whether to file those serious charges, which carry a potential penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
A Justice Department “strike force” is seeking to assemble a sedition case against some of those involved in last week’s riot at the Capitol, which is now being treated as a massive crime scene, a top prosecutor said Tuesday.
The acting U.S. attorney in Washington, Michael Sherwin, said a team of his colleagues was examining whether to file those serious charges, which carry a potential penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
“We are looking at significant felony cases tied to sedition and conspiracy,” Sherwin said at the Justice Department’s first televised news conference since the violent takeover of the Capitol last Wednesday.
“Just yesterday, our office organized a strike force of very senior national security prosecutors and public corruption prosecutors,” he added. “Their only marching orders from me are to build seditious and conspiracy charges related to the most heinous acts that occurred in the Capitol.”
Sherwin said that more than 70 people were already facing criminal charges and that he expected that number to grow “geometrically.”
“I expect that number to grow into the hundreds,” the prosecutor said. “Just the gamut of cases we’re looking at is mind-blowing.”
Sherwin described some of the early, less-serious charges filed against participants in the violent riots — in which five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died — as placeholders that would eventually be expanded into far graver indictments. He also said some of the conduct that has received widespread public attention — like the man who sat in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s chair and stole a piece of mail — only scratched the surface of the criminality that took place. Additional, nonpublic information will be “shocking” when it comes out, he said.
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