Criminal Proceedings That Began on January 6 Might Go Until the 2024 Election, According to Defence Attorneys.
It’s been more than a year since the brawl at the United States Capitol on January 6, and none of the suspects indicted in the attack has faced a jury.
Although a handful is anticipated to begin in the coming months, defence attorneys predict that some of the hundreds of cases will go until the 2024 presidential election, according to a Justice Department official.
Katie Cusick has accepted the long wait ahead of her. “There’s a dark cloud hovering over our heads,” she explained.
Hundreds of January 6 defendants are awaiting trial dates and the re-opening of the federal court in Washington, D.C., where U.S. Capitol assault charges are being tried.
“They’re disappointed with the progress and the delay,” she explained.
In the January 6 prosecutions, Jim and Casey Cusick of Melbourne, Florida, are among the approximately 730 defendants.
Both have entered not guilty pleas and are out of detention pending their trials. However, their defence attorney has informed the guys that their cases are unlikely to be resolved until at least 2023.
They aren’t on their own. Even though it has been more than a year after the incident, none of the defendants from January 6 has been tried.
According to a Justice Department official, just five are anticipated to do so before April.
One defence attorney, who is managing Cusick’s case as well as the cases of several other January 6 defendants, told the source that he anticipates some cases to last until November 2024, the next presidential election.
With its January 6 cases, the Justice Department is dealing with some unusual and complex logistical issues.
Due to COVID hazards, the federal courtroom in Washington, D.C. is closed to jury trials until at least February 7. The majority of hearings are held virtually, using Zoom and phone connections.
However, trials must take place in person in the courthouse, which is a short walk from the United States Capitol.
In addition, the agency is attempting to manage an unprecedented inundation of data. The riot prosecution in the United States Capitol, which the FBI has described as one of the greatest criminal cases in US history, is awash with tips and prospective evidence.
The Justice Department claimed in a series of recent court papers that there are 14,000 hours of Capitol surveillance footage, 250 gigabytes of data, and more than 200,000 public tips.
Federal prosecutors are attempting to handle and arrange a building stack of evidence and documents, which includes a growing collection of social media posts, phone footage, and witness testimonies.
The agency informed a judge this week that there is still “work to be done” in terms of preparing evidence for the court, defence counsel, defendants, and trial.
The Justice Department stated in a court statement Thursday as part of its request for a time extension in the case of a defendant from New Jersey, “This investigation has generated an extraordinary quantity of evidence.”
Some trial dates have been announced, notably in the high-profile instances involving suspected OathKeepers conspirators. Some of these trials will begin in April, while others will begin in July and September.
Defendants accused of seditious conspiracy, some of whom are in pretrial confinement, are scheduled to appear on later dates.
According to the source, roughly 40 defendants in the January 6 cases are being held in pretrial custody at the Washington, D.C., jail, with some having been held for over a year without a clear trial date.
Judges have stated that cases involving defendants in pre-trial detention should be given priority for trial dates that are early.
Katie Cusick says her family feels that her father’s and brother’s cases and trial dates should be postponed until the higher-level incarcerated criminals have had their day in court.
“It’s a lot worse for them than it is for us,” she remarked.
Defendants aren’t the only ones looking forward to going to court. Officer Harry Dunn of the United States Capitol Police Department, who endured physical attacks and racist epithets while assisting his colleagues in defending the Capitol on January 6, is anticipated to testify in some of the higher-level offenders’ trials.
Dunn told the source that his coworkers are ready to see justice done, but they understand why the process is taking so long. “The wait was well worth it,” Dunn remarked. “Patience is required.”
According to a source analysis of the federal court schedule in Washington, D.C., Guy Reffitt of Texas will be the first to stand trial. Reffitt has entered a not-guilty plea to several federal offences.
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On January 6, he is suspected of having a pistol while in the midst of a throng attacking police officers. If the court does not extend its closure to most in-person procedures, including juries, beyond February 7, the trial is set to begin on February 28 at 9 a.m.