The indictment for seditious conspiracy unveiled against members of the extremist group the Proud Boys is just the latest set of charges to come out of what Attorney General Merrick Garland has called “one of the largest, most complex, and most resource-intensive investigation” in the history of the US Department of Justice.
According to Justice Department officials, more than 140 federal prosecutors have been working on cases related to the January 6 attack in concert with FBI agents from all 50 states in the year and a half since a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol in hopes of preventing Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.
It took police from Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia as well as the US Capitol Police and officers from other federal agencies to clear the mob from the building so the House and Senate could resume the quadrennial joint session that had been interrupted by the riot.
While overwhelmed Capitol Police officers made few arrests that day, many of the Trump supporters who breached the Capitol have found themselves in handcuffs since then. As of 6 May, federal agents have arrested 810 people across all 50 US states and in the District of Columbia, for crimes ranging in seriousness from picketing or parading without a permit to the rarely used seditious conspiracy charges levelled against leaders of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers extremist groups.
Statistics provided by the District of Columbia US Attorney’s office reveal that more than a quarter of those arrested — 255 defendants — have been charged with “assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers or employees”. Of those 255, 85 have been charged with using “deadly or dangerous” weapons or causing injury to law enforcement officers.
The DC US Attorney’s office also said approximately 280 people have pleaded guilty to charges that will carry sentences of incarceration. Seven of those have been sentenced to prison terms as long as 63 months.
An additional number of defendants — around 40, according to a report by two Republican members of Congress released in December — are housed in a facility at the District of Columbia jail because they have been determined to be too dangerous to release or have violated their release conditions.
So far, roughly 165 of the 800+ cases brought as a result of the January 6 attack have been fully adjudicated, with a total of 65 defendants receiving sentences to either jail or prison terms. Another 50 have been sentenced to home detention.