Nearly a dozen new defendants have been arrested or prosecuted across the country, and the Department of Justice has made it clear that it is placing a focus on major cases that could be the most widespread counterterrorism investigation since September 11, 2001.
By the evening of Wednesday’s new arrests, the number of new federal criminal cases has risen to at least 32, and hundreds more are being searched or investigated.
Last week, investigators searched for the most notable faces of the riot. On Wednesday, a federal court filed a public indictment against two Virginia rural police officers who shared on a social media a photo of them posing in front of a statue of a revolutionary war general in the Capitol.
Many of the recent defendants have drawn attention to themselves by posing for photographs that have been circulating on the Internet or that have been identified (or identified) on social media. Some admitted their involvement in the FBI melee.
The unfolding new cases continue to target largely people captured in photos or videos.
The evidence suggests planning, the law enforcement agency says
The attention is likely to come with potentially more serious allegations in the coming weeks.
This has triggered more complex investigations where a public institution and national security prosecutors have teamed up to spread the investigation like a spreading terrorist probe.
The presence of corruption prosecutors and agents is due in part to their experience in financial investigations. “We follow the money,” the official said.
By Wednesday morning, the FBI reported that it had received more than 126,000 digital tips from the public about the attack on the Capitol and was tracking the online chat.
Among the tips the FBI has received is to introduce members of Congress to people who later appeared in the Capitol riot, two law enforcement officials said. That doesn’t mean members of Congress and employees are being investigated, but the FBI is verifying the veracity of the claims, officials said.
Court filings reveal frightening details about the threats
In some cases, the extent of the danger around the Capitol became clear last week. In particular, two defendants, Cleveland Meredith Jr. and Lonnie Coffman, allegedly brought an arsenal to the city with an interest in joining the so-called war.
Coffman received one of the first indictments related to the riots and is now facing 17 criminal charges, mostly for possession of several weapons, including ammunition, rifle bullets and various weapons, including a rifle, rifle, three pistols and 11 Molotovs. cocktails without registration in Washington DC on Jan. 6 on charges.
He allegedly parked his truck full of bomb blocks from the Capitol Building before Trump protested after living in DC for about a week. In court documents against Coffman, prosecutors found that handwritten notes of Abraham Lincoln’s citation had been found to overthrow “men who were violating the constitution,” telephone numbers of right-wing personalities, including Senator Ted Cruz and Sean Hannity, and a federally labeled list. judge a “bad boy” and a member of Congress as a Muslim. He has not pleaded guilty and is awaiting trial in prison.
Meredith allegedly threatened in a text message and carried 2,500 rounds, assault rifles and another weapon in town.
He arrived in Washington after the pro-Trump demonstration and reportedly cheerfully reported the shooting of DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He wrote of a “war time” against lawmakers when Joe Biden’s congressional confirmation approached as the president-elect approached, according to prosecutors, according to Wednesday’s court submissions.
“The defendant sent a text stating, ‘We’ll surround the DC and slowly squeeze.'” – were noted by prosecutors and argued in favor of his detention. “Apparently he had the impression that law enforcement was monitoring his communications, the defendant later sent a text: ‘I am harmless …
After Meredith was in town, she allegedly hit her head and abused a person, prosecutors added.
“His threats were graphic — he threatened to shoot a civil servant, a bullet in his head, on live television. His threat was vulgar and misogynistic. In addition, the defendant was obviously pleased with the violence he described as ‘entertainment’ and ‘purpose.’ in his detention note.
DOJ wants to keep people off the streets …
At least the arrests that have already been arrested are part of a strategy used in counter-terrorism investigations – to find even a minimal charge to get a worried person out of the street. This could help alleviate concerns about possible attacks on initiation, officials believe.
Authorities tried this as early as last week before a pro-Trump meeting in Washington when the leader of the Proud Boys right-wing group, Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, was arrested for the transparent burning of the Black Life Master.
Law enforcement said he had found two high-capacity firearms depots that demanded additional charges. And this week, New York federal authorities arrested a man for an armed charge after investigators made online disclosures about an armed caravan heading to the U.S. Capitol.
But your strategy may have limitations
The Department of Justice could run into the potential limitations of the law when they try to lock in a few people – their first challenge is Meredith.
The opportunity arose on Wednesday when a judge refused their request to be detained.
Meredith’s attorney argued that it was not enough by law to keep him locked up because of the perceived “danger.”
“Congress has restricted the government’s ability to request custody,” Meredith’s attorney wrote in a Wednesday afternoon court filing, citing restrictions on the bail reform law that defendants can be held in jail because they are at risk of flying, potentially obstructing . violence, a drug offense, or an offense that may result in life imprisonment or death.
Meredith’s lawyer argued that he should be released while he waits for his trial.
Meredith has not yet been charged and arrested last week for a criminal complaint alleging illegally possessing weapons and making threats.
He is still being held in custody, and will appear again in front of Judge Michael Harvey in Washington DC on Thursday to see if he should remain in custody.
CNN Marshall Cohen contributed to the report.