Sep 30, 2021 - Politics & Policy

U.S. requests imprisonment for Jan. 6 misdemeanor defendants for the 1st time

Photo of a Trump supporter waving an American flag in the sky against the Capitol building's backdrop
Supporters of former President Trump take over the grounds of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Photo: Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Two Ohio men were sentenced to serve 45 days in prison after prosecutors requested incarceration for the first time at sentencing hearings for Capitol rioters who took plea deals for nonviolent misdemeanors.

Why it matters: Federal judges have debated whether the no-prison plea deals offered to low-level Jan. 6 defendants are too lenient to deter potential future attackers.

Context: In July, Derek Jancart, an Air Force veteran, and Erik Rau confessed to traveling to Washington with a gas mask and tw0-way radios, and heading to the Capitol after hearing about the riots.

  • The two steelworkers from Columbus can be heard laughing at police officers in video footage obtained by the government. Rau later entered one of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) evacuated conference rooms.
  • Prosecutors requested a four-month prison sentence for each.

What they're saying: U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg ordered Jancart and Rau to self-surrender to the D.C. jail at a later date.

  • "You attempted with others to undermine one of our bedrock acts, which is the peaceful transfer of power following a democratic election," Boasberg said Wednesday, per Washington Post.
  • "There are few actions as serious as the ones this group took on that day."
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