Published: Thu, January 14, 2021

US Justice Dept: Capitol case like terror probe, will bring ‘sedition’ charges

US Justice Dept: Capitol case like terror probe, will bring ‘sedition’ charges

"We've already charged over 70 cases", Michael Sherwin, the US Attorney for the District of Columbia, told a press conference.

Steven D'Antuono, from the FBI's Washington DC field office, spent some time describing the challenge of distinguishing genuine threats from people making empty threats on the internet. D'Antuono said investigators are working their way through more than 100,000 pieces of digital evidence submitted by the public, the BBC reports.

While many of them involve Trump supporters whose photos went viral on social media, such as one of a man pictured sitting at the desk of a staffer of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sherwin said more serious charges are coming and a grand jury has been reviewing the cases.

The US attorney's office in DC has opened more than 170 subject files, Sherwin said, "meaning these individuals have been identified as potential persons that committed crimes on the Capitol grounds, inside and outside".

"And as mentioned, with this strike-force to focus strictly on sedition charges, we're looking at, in creating this, just like a significant global counterterrorism or counterintelligence operation, we're looking at everything", Sherwin said.

"The range of criminal conduct is really ... unmatched in any type of scenario that we've seen at the Federal Bureau of Investigation or DOJ", he said.

"The gamut of cases and criminal conduct we're looking at is really mind-blowing", he added.

State legislators and state employees have been advised to steer clear of the Oklahoma state Capitol building this weekend after law enforcement officials warned local protests could be possible across the country.

Seattle's police department placed two officers on administrative leave while it investigates.

Last week's Capitol insurrection sent shockwaves through the nation and resulted in five deaths, including a US Capitol Police officer who died from injuries sustained as Trump supporters beat him with a fire extinguisher.

"This is an infiltration and set up tactic used to incite violence and blame us", warned a Minnesota group that organized a January 6 "Stop the Steal" event.

"We are not seeing almost the same level of online chatter about attending those events", said Lindsay Schubiner, a program director at the Western States Center, but she cautioned that violence was still possible.

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