The Justice Department is increasingly engaging in an initiative to prohibit Jan. 6 rioters from obtaining financial gain due to involvement in the attack on the Capitol in 2021, according to the Associated Press (AP).
Prosecutors in over 1,000 criminal cases related to the events on Jan. 6, 2021, have been increasingly requesting that judges impose fines in addition to prison sentence in order to counteract donations sent by supporters of the rioters, AP reported. Prosecutors admit there is nothing wrong with seeking help for attorney fees, but the Justice Department has raised concerns about the true destination of the donations because many of the individuals facing charges received government-funded legal representation.
Judges have levied over $350,000 in fines against more than 130 defendants since the riots occurred, AP reported. Prosecutors have sought fines ranging from $450 to more than $71,000 from at least 21 defendants so far in 2023.
Additionally, judges have mandated hundreds of convicted rioters pay the government over $500,000 in restitution for the nearly $3 million in damage to the Capitol and other expenses related to Jan. 6, AP reported. (RELATED: Bill Barr Says Jan. 6 Riot Was ‘A Clown Show’)
Numerous defendants have established online fundraising campaigns to assist them with their legal expenses, according to the AP. The majority of them used Christian crowdfunding platform GiveSendGo since they are banned from raising money on websites like GoFundMe.
Proud Boy and Texas resident Daniel Goodwyn pleaded guilty to breaching the Capitol in January 2023, according to the Justice Department. He went on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show in March and advertised a platform where people could donate money to him, according to the AP.
The Justice Department wants to clawback over $25,000 Goodwyn fundraised through fines. His sentencing will be in June, AP reported.
“He received that amount in charity to help him in his debt for legal fees for former attorneys and this for unknown reasons is bothersome to the government,” his attorney Carolyn Stewart wrote in court papers in May. She characterized prosecutors as “demanding blood from a stone.”
“The lawyers were paid and he owes $75+k to those who paid his upfront legal fees,” she added. “The DOJ’s call for a fine is its attempt to bankrupt Mr. Goodwyn out of its pure, evil spite that God will judge them for … This is political oppression by the administration.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) classified “every single January 6th case . . . as a domestic terrorism case,” according to testimony by Former FBI Special Agent Garret O’Boyle, although hundreds of them were resolved as “petty crimes” like “trespassing and disorderly conduct.”
Former President Donald Trump said he would pardon a “large portion” of the rioters if he is reelected as president in 2024 during a CNN town hall in May.
“They’ve persecuted these people,” he said, adding that “they’re living in hell right now.”
The Justice Department pointed the DCNF to the government’s sentencing memorandum on Goodwyn.
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