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January 6 Was Not a Seditious Conspiracy

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | December 1, 2022

It’s a shame that a course in logic is not offered in law school. If it was, maybe, just maybe, attorney Harry Litman would not have written an op-ed entitled “A Jury Delivers the Truth about Jan. 6. It Was Seditious Conspiracy,” which appeared in yesterday’s Los Angeles Times. 

In his article, Litman, a former U.S. attorney and deputy attorney general, claims that the recent  federal conviction of Oath Keepers leaders Stewart Rhodes and Kelly Meggs for seditious conspiracy “will go a long way toward defining the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol melee, once and for all, as a heinous crime orchestrated by enemies of democracy.”

Well, actually, it does no such thing. My hunch is that Litman’s prosecutorial mindset is clouding his thinking.

The jury’s verdict of seditious conspiracy applies only to Rhodes and Meggs, not to anyone else. In fact, in the same trial the jury acquitted other defendants of seditious conspiracy and instead convicted them of the lesser charge of obstructing a government proceeding. 

Simply because two people are convicted of seditious conspiracy doesn’t mean that the thousands of other people involved in the Capitol protests are also guilty of seditious conspiracy. The convictions apply only to the people who are convicted, not to the thousands of other people who aren’t convicted. 

In other words, you can have a situation where thousands of people have no intention whatsoever of committing seditious conspiracy and who are simply protesting some governmental action. At the same time and in that same situation, you can have two people who are conspiring to commit sedition. 

Under the law, the fact that those two people are conspiring to commit sedition does not convert the thousands of other people into people who are also conspiring to commit sedition. If the law permitted the feds to convict innocent people in that manner, then everyone involved in the January 6 protests would have been charged with seditious conspiracy and convicted. The fact that federal prosecutors did not charge most of the protestors with seditious conspiracy and the fact that the jury acquitted some of the defendants in the recent sedition case of seditious conspiracy demonstrate the legal principle that only those who are guilty of a crime should be prosecuted and convicted of the crime. 

Litman also reveals his deeply set prosecutorial mindset by suggesting that other people who are still facing trial for the January 6 event “may want to think hard about pleading guilty and offering to cooperate with the government investigation.’

Really? But what if they’re innocent, Litman? Do you still think they should think hard about pleading guilty? As a criminal-defense attorney, would you permit a client in the January 6 event to plead guilty knowing that he was claiming to be innocent? Or are you saying that your client would automatically be guilty, regardless of what he claimed, simply because Rhodes and Meggs were convicted of seditious conspiracy? 

Moreover, what’s wrong with going to trial? Isn’t that a person’s right? Well, not exactly. Litman knows that it is long-established policy in the federal courts to hit people who go to trial and are convicted with higher sentences than those who simply plead guilty. In other words, in the federal court system, you have a right to a jury trial but if you exercise it and lose, you are going to receive a double penalty for making those federal judges and federal prosecutors work for their generous tax-funded salaries.

The fact that two people are convicted of seditious conspiracy does not mean that everyone else involved in the January 6 protests is guilty of seditious conspiracy or, for that matter, any other crime. Moreover, people who are claiming to be innocent should never be encouraged or permitted to plead guilty. Everyone has the right of trial by jury and should never be punished for exercising that right. 

December 1, 2022 - Posted by | Civil Liberties, Mainstream Media, Warmongering |

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