The U.S. Department of Justice has notified federal judges in Washington that it intends to indict more than 500 people for their participation in the January 6 riots outside the U.S. Capitol.
“More than 400 people have already been charged in connection with the Capitol attack,” federal prosecutors said in court documents. – The investigation is ongoing, and the government expects at least a hundred additional people to be charged.” On Friday, a law enforcement spokesman clarified that 440 people have now been charged, NBC News reported.
Justice Department lawyers have called the massive investigation one of the largest in American history in terms of the number of charges filed and the amount of evidence, which includes more than 15,000 hours of surveillance video and police TV cameras. Court documents show that the defendants came from nearly every state, with residents of Florida, Pennsylvania, and Texas, states where Donald Trump won the Nov. 3 election, topping the list of people arrested. According to the Center for the Extremism Program at George Washington University in the U.S. capital, about 90 percent of the detainees were men, and their average age was about 40.
Most of those arrested are charged with various misdemeanors, such as entering a federal building without permission or attempting to interfere with the official Electoral College vote count. A few dozen face more serious charges of assaulting police officers or defacing government property.
Prosecutors also brought conspiracy charges against members of the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers. They are accused of playing a larger role in planning and directing the Capitol siege or in encouraging other U.S. citizens to join it. One member of the Guardians, John Shaffer of Indiana, pleaded guilty to entering the Capitol wearing tactical body armor and armed with bear hunting spray. He has agreed to cooperate with investigators.
Responding to a major question about the riots, the chief medical examiner in Washington determined that U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Siknick died the day after the siege, having suffered two strokes. The Justice Department said investigators are still looking for whoever planted the two homemade bombs at the Republican and Democratic national offices near the Capitol the night before the riots.