Home News Conservative federal judge condemns ‘normalization’ of January 6 while sentencing defiant rioter

Conservative federal judge condemns ‘normalization’ of January 6 while sentencing defiant rioter

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Conservative federal judge condemns ‘normalization’ of January 6 while sentencing defiant rioter

By Marshall Cohen | CNN

A federal judge on Wednesday blasted a convicted January 6 rioter for downplaying the US Capitol attack and using the kind of revisionist rhetoric that former President Donald Trump often uses on the campaign trial.

“This cannot become normal… We cannot condone the normalization of the January 6 US Capitol riot,” US District Judge Royce Lamberth said while sentencing Taylor James Johnatakis to more than seven years in prison.

The judge warned of a “vicious cycle … that could imperil our institutions” if Americans, upset with future election results, resort to the “vigilantism, lawlessness and anarchy” that occurred on January 6, 2021.

He did not reference Trump by name while sentencing Johnatakis, but the comparisons were clear. After Johnatakis’ conviction in November, he has mirrored Trump’s rhetoric in interviews about the insurrection, saying “everything about January 6 is just overblown,” and referring to the jail in Washington, DC, as a “gulag.”

Trump has used what “January 6 hostages” front and center in his campaign. He has pledged to pardon some of the people facing charges for their role in the insurrection. And he has played a song at political rallies that features the voices of January 6 inmates singing the national anthem.

The judge declared Wednesday that “the January 6 riot was not civil disobedience,” but instead was a “corrosive” and “selfish, not patriotic” affront to the nation, where Americans were “battling (their) own representative government.” He invoked the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Henry David Thoreau as examples of historic American figures who pursued “peaceful” but powerful acts of civil disobedience.



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