POLITICS

Capitol Siege One Of America's Largest Attacks With Many More To Be Arrested: Prosecutors

Justice Department lawyers ask for a continuance in an extensive, complex case against the Oath Keepers as the investigation continues to expand.

The Justice Department on Friday described the deadly siege of the U.S. Capitol as one of the largest attacks in American history, with many more people yet to be arrested.

About 320 individuals have already been charged in the Jan. 6 assault by Donald Trump supporters seeking to disrupt the certification of Electoral College votes and block Americans’ choice of Joe Biden as the next president.

The investigation is so wide-ranging and so complex that federal prosecutors before the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia asked for a 60-day continuance to allow more time to prepare cases against a group of nine suspected members of the extremist Oath Keepers. Prosecutors indicated earlier this week that the case could soon involve an additional six defendants.

“The investigation and prosecution of the Capitol Attack will likely be one of the largest in American history — both in terms of the number of defendants prosecuted and the nature and volume of the evidence,” federal prosecutors said in the court filing. 

The “number of defendants charged and the volume of potentially discoverable materials will only continue to grow” as the investigation continues, according to the filing. 

Investigators have already gathered more than 15,000 hours of surveillance and body camera footage, about 1,600 electronic devices, more than 210,000 tips and more than 80,000 reports in the Capitol assault, prosecutors noted. Nine hundred search warrants have been executed in “almost all 50 states,” and 14 local and federal law enforcement agencies have been involved in the investigations, according to the court filing.

The government is also “investigating conspiratorial activity that occurred prior to and on” the day of the attack that will likely involve a “large number of participants,” the filing noted.

In the Oath Keepers case, investigators are reportedly scrutinizing activities of the founder of the organization, Stewart Rhodes.

Prosecutors have alleged in court papers that Rhodes was in direct contact before and during the Capitol attack with some individuals who have been charged with conspiracy.

Some Oath Keepers who were arrested and charged with offenses linked to the Capitol attack had spent time with longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone, who was pardoned for several felonies before the former president left office.

Prosecutors have also brought conspiracy charges against members of right-wing extremist group the Proud Boys for their alleged role in the violence.

Trump’s former Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, in a Vice interview Thursday, blamed the former president’s incendiary speech earlier on Jan. 6 for the storming of the Capitol.