by WorldTribune Staff, June 1, 2023
An Obama-appointed judge who has issued two of the longest sentences to Jan. 6 defendants added years to the jail terms because the defendants spoke to the media and raised funds for their legal defenses, attorneys have charged.
On May 4, U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia Amit Mehta sentenced Peter Schwartz to 14 years in prison for pepper-spraying police officers during the Jan. 6 protest.
The Gateway Pundit noted in a May 31 report that Schwartz had raised over $71,000 from an online campaign titled “Patriot Pete Political Prisoner in DC.”
Prosecutors asked Mehta to order Schwartz to pay a fine equaling the amount raised by his campaign, arguing that he shouldn’t profit from participating in Jan. 6 violence.
Instead, the judge added more years to Schwartz’s sentence, said attorney Steven Metcalf, who represents several J6 defendants.
“The government was seeking 23 years against this man. He got 14 for assaulting police officers without injuries,” Metcalf said. “Schwartz from my understanding was convicted of numerous assaults on police officers. In New York, assaults are broken down by degree based on the injury — I don’t know about any degree of injury, at all [in Schwartz’s case.]”
“A factor in the government seeking that amount of time was the amount of fundraising and the amount of time that he would speak,” Metcalf added.
Many defendants have also been prohibited from submitting evidence to the court that indict the government for their actions on Jan. 6, 2021.
“Now people who plead or were found guilty have to worry about whether or not they spoke to a media outlet and tried to speak their truth or exercise their First Amendment rights,” Metcalf said. “I mean, these are people that are not sentenced defendants yet. Once you are a sentenced defendant, the rules do change. But if you are not sentenced yet and not fully convicted, you still have First Amendment rights.”
Weeks after Schwartz was sentenced, Mehta sentenced Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes to 18 years in prison for seditious conspiracy, the longest sentence of any J6er.
“The Obama-appointed magistrate applied ‘terror enhancement’ penalties to add years to Rhodes’s sentence,” The Gateway Pundit noted.
During the sentencing hearing, Mehta scolded Rhodes for granting a media interview in which he claimed the 2020 election was stolen.
“You recently said in an interview that the 2020 election was not only stolen but taken by unconstitutional means. You said you had to find a way to fix that. Nothing has changed. The moment you are released you’ll be prepared to take up arms against your government because you think that’s the appropriate way to find redress,” the judge said.
Rhodes at his sentencing hearing refuted the government’s claims about the Oath Keepers being a white supremacist organization and maintained that he and every J6er are political prisoners.
Attorney Norm Pattis suspects Rhodes’s decision to stand firm in his political conviction added years to his sentence.
“I give Rhodes a lot of credit for getting into the court and not wetting himself and saying, Oh, I’m so sorry. I’m an idiot,’ you know, ‘I don’t believe in what I did.’ He stood there and he took his lumps,” Pattis told The Gateway Pundit. “He probably caught three or four more years than the judge was prepared to impose because he said, ‘I had the courage of my convictions, then and I got it now.’ ”
“We need more Stewart Rhodes. I’m disappointed that so many of the guys are backing down, you know, for the sake of a year to year. If they thought the country was in peril [on January 6], what do they think now? It’s in greater jeopardy in my view,” Pattis added.
According to a review of court records conducted by the Associated Press, prosecutors in more than 1,000 Jan. 6 criminal cases are asking judges to impose fines in addition to prison sentences to retaliate against defendants who received donations from supporters.