WASHINGTON — Evidence the federal government obtained in the investigation into the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol almost definitely meets the bar essential to cost a number of the suspects with sedition, Michael R. Sherwin, the federal prosecutor who had been main the Justice Department’s inquiry, mentioned in an interview that aired on Sunday.
The division has hardly ever introduced expenses of sedition, the crime of conspiring to overthrow the federal government.
But in an interview with “60 Minutes,” Mr. Sherwin mentioned prosecutors had proof that almost definitely proved such a cost.
“I personally believe the evidence is trending toward that, and probably meets those elements,” Mr. Sherwin mentioned. “I believe the facts do support those charges. And I think that, as we go forward, more facts will support that.”
The final time federal prosecutors introduced a sedition case was 2010, once they accused members of a Michigan militia of plotting to impress an armed battle with the federal government. They had been finally acquitted, and the choose in the case mentioned the Justice Department had not adequately proved that the defendants had entered a “concrete agreement to forcibly oppose the United States government.”
The statute on seditious conspiracy additionally says that individuals who conspire to “oppose by force the authority” of the federal government or use pressure “to prevent, hinder or delay the execution of any law of the United States” may be charged with sedition.
The authorities has charged some defendants in the Jan. 6 case with conspiring to derail the ultimate certification of President Biden’s electoral victory.
Mr. Sherwin witnessed the crime because it unfolded. After he dressed in his operating garments and entered the group on the rally close to the White House, he noticed a “carnival environment” of individuals listening to speeches and promoting T-shirts and snacks.
“I noticed there were some people in tactical gear. They were tacked up with Kevlar vests. They had the military helmets on,” he mentioned in the “60 Minutes” interview. “Those individuals, I noticed, left the speeches early.”
“Where it was initially pro-Trump, it digressed to anti-government, anti-Congress, anti-institutional,” Mr. Sherwin mentioned. “And then I eventually saw people climbing the scaffolding. The scaffolding was being set up for the inauguration. When I saw people climbing up the scaffolding, hanging from it, hanging flags, I was like, ‘This is going bad fast.’”
From the beginning, Mr. Sherwin oversaw the investigation because the appearing U.S. lawyer in Washington, a task that he ceded to a brand new interim chief in early March. He stepped down from main the investigation on Friday and returned to Miami, the place he had been a line prosecutor.
Mr. Sherwin informed “60 Minutes” that the federal government had charged greater than 400 folks. Among them are a whole lot accused of trespassing and greater than 100 accused of assaulting officers, together with Brian D. Sicknick, the Capitol Police officer who died after preventing with rioters.
Mr. Sicknick and two different officers had been sprayed with an unidentified chemical agent that one of many assailants mentioned was used to repel bears.
A medical expert has not decided how Officer Sicknick died, Mr. Sherwin mentioned, so two suspects had been charged with assaulting an officer as an alternative of homicide. But that might change, he mentioned.
“If evidence directly relates that chemical to his death,” Mr. Sherwin mentioned, “in that scenario, correct, that’s a murder case.”
Mr. Sherwin mentioned that solely about 10 p.c of the instances to date handled extra sophisticated conspiracies deliberate and executed by far-right extremists — together with members of the Oath Keepers, the Three Percenters and the Proud Boys — to arrange, come to Washington and breach the Capitol.
He reiterated assertions he made shortly after the assault that prosecutors had been inspecting the conduct of former President Donald J. Trump, who had informed his supporters to attend the rally on Jan. 6 and egged them on with baseless claims that he had received the election.
“It’s unequivocal that Trump was the magnet that brought the people to D.C. on the 6th. Now the question is, is he criminally culpable for everything that happened during the siege, during the breach?” Mr. Sherwin mentioned.
“We have people looking at everything,” he mentioned.