Federal judge condemns January 6 “normalization” and sentences defiant rioter

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By journalsofus.com

Jay Mallin/Zuma/Alamy/File

This 2013 photo shows US District Judge Royce Lamberth in Washington, DC.


A federal judge on Wednesday criticized a rioter convicted on Jan. 6 for downplaying the attack on the U.S. Capitol and using the kind of revisionist rhetoric former President Donald Trump often used in his campaign trial.

“This cannot become normal…We cannot tolerate the normalization of the January 6 riot at the United States Capitol,” District Judge Royce Lamberth said in sentencing Taylor James Johnatakis to more than seven years in prison.

The judge warned of a “vicious cycle… that could jeopardize our institutions” if Americans, upset with future election results, resort to the “vigilantism, lawlessness and lawlessness” that occurred on January 6, 2021.

He did not reference Trump by name in sentencing Johnatakis, but the comparisons were clear. After Johnatakis’ conviction in November, she mirrored Trump’s rhetoric in interviews about the insurrection, saying that “everything about January 6 is just overblown” and referring to the Washington, D.C., jail as a “gulag.” ”.

Trump has used the “January 6 hostages” at the center of his campaign. He has promised to pardon some of the people accused of their role in the insurrection. And he has played a song at political rallies that features the voices of January 6 inmates singing the national anthem.

The judge declared Wednesday that “the January 6 riot was not civil disobedience,” but rather a “corrosive” and “selfish, unpatriotic” affront to the nation, where Americans were “fighting (their) own government.” representative”. He invoked the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Henry David Thoreau as examples of American historical figures who carried out “peaceful” but powerful acts of civil disobedience.

“There can be no place in our country for this type of political violence,” Lamberth said.

Johnatakis spoke briefly during the hearing, only to say “I repent for my sins” and ask several questions common among so-called Sovereign Citizen conspiracy theorists who do not recognize the authority of the federal government.

Lamberth, a senior judge appointed by former President Ronald Reagan, dismissed these investigations as “nonsense.”

Johnatakis was convicted in November by a federal jury of seven crimes, including assaulting a police officer and obstructing congressional proceedings. He has been in the DC jail since his conviction.

According to evidence presented at trial, Johnatakis attended Trump’s rally on Jan. 6 and then threatened to “break down doors” as he marched toward the Capitol. Once outside the building, he incited his fellow Trump supporters in the massive crowd by spouting fiery rhetoric through a megaphone, then led the charge to break through the police line using a metal barricade to overpower officers.

He has been defiant about his actions, saying in a recent interview that “we did nothing” on Jan. 6 and writing about the “injustice” he and others accused of the Capitol riot face behind bars.

Prosecutors said he deserved a longer prison sentence because of his “continued lack of remorse.”

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