Over 100 people have been arrested for storming the Capitol Building on January 6th in a riot that killed 5 people. Now they want a pardon.
The rioters who have been captured and await trial for breaking into the Capitol Building, smashing windows, destroying property, stealing items from offices of lawmakers and chanting in unison their intention to “Hang Mike Pence” the Vice President of the United States, have been petitioning the outgoing President for relief as they face a myriad of Federal felonies and years in prison.
Many of the domestic terrorists who descended on Washington D.C. for Trump’s “Save America” rally, which allegedly used an organization called “Women for America First” as a front for what would become a terrorist insurrection that was actually organized by conspiracy theorist Ali Alexander in coordination with three sitting Republican Congressmen, Andy Biggs, Mo Brooks, and Paul Gosar, claim they attended and attacked under the impression that they were carrying out Donald Trump’s wishes.
During and after the historic tragedy, rioters streamed themselves live on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, posted photos and videos of themselves and fellow rioters as they beat down doors, broke in windows and terrorized security making many easy to identify, especially because no one was wearing a mask. Rebelling against mask wearing at the height of the global COVID pandemic is also one of President Trump’s political cues of patriotism.
As digital images and videos circulated, bringing many of the terrorists to justice was not a tremendous challenge- quite frequently, they posted their own incriminating status updates and other evidence of their involvement.
Jenna Ryan, a Texas real estate agent took a private jet to the D.C. rally with friends.
She updated her twitter feed dozens of times, before, during and after her crimes. As fellow Twitter denizens went into a frenzy, seeking to hold her accountable, Ryan laughed and bragged about her accomplishments even going as far as to retweet calls to have her arrested.
It took over a week before Ryan was detained by the FBI and charged with her role in the riots. Upon returning home from her hearing, where she was released on her own recognizance before her trial, she appeared in a segment on CBS 11 News to complain that she “Feels wronged” and asks Trump to pardon her and all of the attendees of the violent attack.
Like Ryan, Jacob Chansley, one of the more visible character at the riot who appeared in a tapestry of photos, shirtless, wearing sweatpants and a fur headdress with horns with his face painted the colors of the American Flag and was one of the first arrested, is asking the President for a Pardon. Chansely, a loyalist to the QAnon conspiracy movement and self described as a QAnon Shaman, went on a hunger strike while in jail because the wardens refused to provide him with organic meals. His mother claims he has no history of criminal activity, and, similarly to Jenna Ryan, believed he was being personally drafted into Donald Trump’s MAGA army to save America.
A statement was released by his attorneys last Thursday, reading: “Mr. Chansley is an American; he served honorably in the U.S. military. He has zero criminal history. He is a lover of nature, routinely practices meditation is an active practitioner of yoga, and eats only organic food. He took seriously the countless messages of President Trump. He believed in President Trump. Like tens of millions of other Americans, Chansley felt — for the first time in his life — as though his voice was being heard.” The statement concluded with his lawyers writing, “…Pardon those of his peaceful followers who accepted the president’s invitation.”
Chansley, while in the Capitol building, made his way to the Gallery just minutes before lawmakers were evacuated and left a note addressing Vice President Pence that read; “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.” He had been a notable groupie up until the day of the attack on the Capitol Building, following President Trump around the country. Now, he faces six federal charges.
The man seen around the world smiling as he carried away Nancy Pelosi’s lectern is Adam Johnson, a Florida man whose wife, a doctor, has enlisted a powerful and high priced defense team, Daniel Eckhart and David Bigney, with Eckhart having served prior as a Federal prosecutor and Federal agent. Johnson is currently out on $25,000 bond, charged with three crimes. Last week, his attorneys appeared on PrimeTime with Chris Cuomo to make Johnson’s case.
Johnson, who was identified by acquaintances who turned him in to the FBI, had been updating his social media with photos featuring himself inside the building during the riots. Living a privileged life in his hometown of Parrish, Florida, Johnson is referred to as a Stay-At-Home father who makes furniture while living in a home worth half a million dollars. Johnson travelled to Washington D.C. as simply “An observer” according to his defense team.
Thus Far, Johnson, 36, has not mentioned seeking a Pardon. Perhaps because he does not feel it is necessary. For the others, however, money for a prestigious league of attorneys is not a luxury they have. But that doesn’t stop the watching world from speculating if Trump will indeed grant mercy to those who claim they believed they were just following his own orders, or if like so many other close allies that suddenly found themselves in legal hot water who the President conveniently forgot he knew, will their legal pleas fall on deaf ears and Trump instead write them off as merely a band of useful idiots while he scurries to protect himself against prosecution for incitement. He has, in the aftermath, been impeached for a second time a result of the insurrection, making him the first President in history ever to be.
With an uncertain future faced by those rioters who claim they were acting on behalf of the President to “Stop the steal” the alleged congressional co-conspirators have faced no consequences at all, although some claim an investigation is underway. If those who were party to instigating the riots escape accountability, it will telegraph the message that, indeed, two systems of justice exist- one for them, and one for the rest of society.