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Sedition charges could be looming in Capitol riot, prosecutor says
The former US attorney in Washington who previously led the probe into the Capitol riot is being probed for comments he made to “60 Minutes” about the ongoing cases, a federal prosecutor said.
Michael Sherwin — who was replaced as Washington’s top prosecutor days before his “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday — said Tuesday he believes evidence in the investigation supports sedition charges in some of the 400 criminal cases filed thus far in connection with the Jan. 6 siege.
“We have people looking at everything,” Sherwin said.
US District Judge Amit Mehta said during a hearing Tuesday that he was “surprised” to have seen Sherwin sit for the tell-all.
“Whether his interview violated Justice Department policy is really not for me to say, but it is something I hope the Department of Justice is looking into,” Metha said.
Mehta added that he was “being restrained” in his usage of the word “surprised, to say the least” in describing Sherwin’s decision to sit for the interview.
John Crabb, director of the criminal division for the US Attorney’s Office in Washington, said Sherwin’s “60 Minutes” interview had been referred to the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility to be investigated.
“The Department of Justice has rules and procedures that govern contact with media, and as far as we can determine at this point, those rules and procedures were not applied with respect to that ’60 Minutes’ interview,” Crabb told Mehta, according to NBC News.
Crabb said DOJ officials are also planning to look into a New York Times article that quoted anonymous sources indicating that prosecutors are weighing whether to file sedition charges — punishable by up to 20 years in prison — against some Oath Keepers.
“We understand and we share the court’s concerns about the media contacts and disclosures that have been made,” Crabb said. “The department has already taken steps with respect to both of those.”
Defense attorneys, meanwhile, are already trying to use Sherwin’s remarks to claim their clients are being unfairly treated, the Washington Post reported.
“No matter how much press attention this matter gets, it will be clear these defendants are entitled to a fair trial,” Mehta said. “The government, quite frankly in my view, should know better.”
Sherwin — who recorded the interview on March 17, two days before he stepped down from leading the probe — declined to comment, the Washington Post reported.
With Post wires
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