The cocky smiles on the faces of the of the rioters who posed for selfies as they breached the Capitol building January 6th have probably been replaced by some very concerned looks, because things got real for them.
The Justice Department held a press conference Wednesday, and is reportedly considering sedition charges against some of the rioters. If convicted, each person charged faces up to 20 years in prison.
Any person charged with sedition is in essence being accused of trying to overthrow or defeat the government.
To illustrate how serious the Justice Department is, acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin said his office formed a specialized strike force made up of senior national security and public corruption prosecutors. “Their only marching orders from me are to build seditious and conspiracy charges related to the most heinous acts that occurred in the Capitol, and these are significant charges,” Sherwin said.
Modern-day sedition statues are different than when they were initially drawn up at the time of the first World War, as prosecutors do not need proof of a plot to overthrow the government. It instead could be used when a defendant tries to use force to oppose the government.
As for rounding up some of the suspects that left Washington to head home, the FBI made it clear they should be nervous. There are thousands of photos available for authorities to use to track down individuals, and the FBI has received more than 100,000 digital tips from the public.
Steven M. D’Antuono, the FBI Washington Field Office Assistant Director sent out a chilling warning to rioters who have not been arrested yet. ”Even if you’ve left D.C., agents from of our local offices will be knocking on your door if we find out that you were part of criminal activity at the Capitol. Before we do, this is your opportunity to come forward, as several individuals who were involved in Wednesday’s riots have done, to volunteer information about their participation.”