Feb 18, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Judge: Jan. 6 defendants should get lighter sentences for aiding investigation

Chief U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia Beryl A. Howell listens during an investiture ceremony.

Beryl A. Howell, the chief judge for the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., on April 13, 2018. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

A federal judge said Friday that people charged in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol riot should receive more lenient sentences for assisting the Congressional investigations surrounding the attack, Politico reports.

Driving the news: "I think that that kind of cooperation is helpful to this country and is helpful to making amends for what occurred on Jan. 6," said Beryl Howell, the chief judge of the U.S. District Court in Washington D.C.

  • Howell seeks to encourage defendants to talk to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

State of play: Howell’s remarks come after a public defender representing Robert Schornak, who was charged on Friday with breaching the Capitol on Jan. 6, said that the Department of Justice should give credit to defendants who accept responsibility for their role in the attack.

  • A Justice Department prosecutor, however, said that Schornak's cooperation with the House committee should not influence his sentencing.
  • "I don’t think it’s something that should be given great weight," Assistant U.S. Attorney Anita Eve said. "We are not treating that in the same way that someone would be treated if they cooperated in a federal investigation."

Go deeper: Judge: DOJ's low-level charges "fostering confusion" about Jan. 6

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