Federal prosecutors bring charges against 55 following Capitol riot
The top federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., said Thursday that his office has brought 55 cases against members of the mob that overran the Capitol, and that he’s open to adding serious felony charges against both those involved in and those who helped instigate the riot.
Michael Sherwin, the acting U.S. Attorney for D.C., said that the charges were brought in the district’s federal and local courts and that more could follow, adding that “all options are on the table.”
“This is an organic, fluid situation but we will continue to aggressively pursue charges for all federal offenses based on the evidence both in the superior court side and in the federal court side,” Sherwin said on a call with reporters.
“We will bring the most maximum charges we can based on the conduct,” he added when asked if his office was considering charges such as sedition, rioting and insurrection.
Sherwin said that the Department of Justice (DOJ) would be releasing charging documents later Thursday after the defendants had made their initial court appearances, but said that weapons charges were being brought against some of the group.
One man was arrested at the Capitol with a “military semi-automatic rifle” and 11 Molotov cocktails that were “ready to go,” he said.
Sherwin told reporters that his investigation is still ongoing and that his office is open to bringing charges against those who may have organized or incited the riot, refusing to rule out speakers at a rally Wednesday shortly before the mob swarmed the Capitol.
President Trump was among those who spoke, continuing to float baseless claims of election fraud and urging his supporters to “fight” and march on the Capitol.
Sherwin on Thursday wouldn’t say whether his office would be investigating the White House, but reiterated that all options would be on the table for his probe.
“We’re trying to deal with the closest alligators to the boat right now,” Sherwin said. “Those are the people who obviously breached the Capitol, created violence and mayhem there and then exited. But yes, we are looking at all actors here, not only the people that went into the building.”
Federal court records show charges filed against two men Thursday afternoon. Christopher Michael Alberts was charged with carrying a handgun on Capitol grounds and Mark Leffingwell is facing charges of assaulting a police officer and violent and disorderly entry on Capitol grounds.
An affidavit from a U.S. Capitol Police officer filed with the federal court said Leffingwell repeatedly punched the officer trying to prevent protesters from entering the Capitol building.
The officer said in his affidavit that Leffingwell later apologized while in custody.
It’s unclear whether the two men are represented by attorneys.
Updated at 5:40 p.m.