Justice Dept. now expects to charge more than 500 in Capitol riot probe

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/justice-department/justice-dept-now-exp...

By Pete Williams

The Justice Department has notified federal judges in Washington that it expects to charge more than 500 people with taking part in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

"Over 400 individuals have been charged in connection with the Capitol attack," federal prosecutors said in court documents filed late Thursday. "The investigation continues and the government expects that at least one hundred additional individuals will charged."

The current number of people charged is 440, a law enforcement official said Friday.

Justice Department lawyers have described the sprawling investigation as one of the largest in American history in terms of the number of charges filed and the volume of evidence, which includes more than 15,000 hours of video from surveillance and police body cameras.

Court documents show that those charged come from nearly every state, with Florida, Pennsylvania, and Texas topping the list in number of residents arrested. Roughly 90 percent of the total charged were men, and their average age was 40, according to figures compiled by the Program on Extremism at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

The majority of those charged are accused of lower-level offenses, such as entering a federal building without permission and trying to disrupt the official counting of the Electoral College vote for president. A few dozen face more serious charges of assaulting police officers or damaging government property.

Prosecutors have also filed conspiracy charges against members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers. They are accused of playing a more central role in planning and leading the Capitol siege or encouraging others to join it.

One member of the Oath Keepers, Jon Schaffer of Indiana, has pleaded guilty to entering the Capitol while wearing a tactical vest and armed with bear spray. He has agreed to cooperate with investigators.

Answering one of the big questions stemming from the riot, the chief medical examiner in Washington determined that U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died the day following the siege after suffering two strokes. But investigators are still searching for whoever planted two pipe bombs at the national offices of the Republican and Democratic parties near the Capitol the night before the riot.