Court Battles

Judge erupts at Capitol rioter: ‘You’ve disgraced this country’

Rioters outside of the U.S. Capitol building
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A federal judge in Washington, D.C., erupted at a Capitol riot defendant on Friday after the individual pleaded guilty to a single charge in connection with the Jan. 6 attack.

U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton made the comment to defendant Anthony Mariotto of Florida during a plea hearing, CNN reported.

According to court records, Mariotto pleaded guilty to a single charge of parading, demonstrating or picketing in the Capitol building. He is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 17.

“You’ve disgraced this country in the eyes of the world, and my inclination is to lock you up,” Walton said, according to CNN. “To see someone destroy, or try to destroy, the Capitol is very troubling to me.”

Mariotto was facing five charges in connection with the riot in which supporters of former President Trump breached the Capitol in an effort to block Congress from ratifying President Biden’s electoral victory. Mariotto pleaded not guilty to all charges in April.   

According to an FBI affidavit, Mariotto posted a photo on Facebook of himself in the Senate gallery. A person who knew Mariotto saved a screenshot of the post and shared it with law enforcement before Mariotto’s Facebook page was deleted.

Under Friday’s agreement, prosecutors dismissed four other charges against Mariotto, Politico reported. He faces up to six months in prison.

According to the outlet, Walton lashed out during discussions about detaining Mariotto before pending sentencing.

Walton, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, expressed fears that the riot set a precedent for future unrest around elections. 

“What if the next time around, the Democrats lose the presidency and start a riot?” Walton asked, according to Politico. “I guess you think that would be all right in light of what you did, right?” 

This wasn’t the first time Walton lashed out at a Capitol riot defendant.

In late July, Walton confronted another defendant for flouting a requirement to wear a mask when meeting with pretrial services or appearing in court.

Tags Capitol breach Donald Trump Joe Biden

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