It’s an indirect line against Republicans who sought to whitewash the violence committed by supporters of former President Donald Trump in the assault on Capitol Hill. Trump himself has taken turns arguing that his supporters are “hugging and kissing” the police – rather than committing the 1,000 or so assaults according to prosecutors – and baselessly claimed that leftist agitators were behind the scenes. violence.
Trump has championed the cause of Ashli Babbitt, the Jan.6 rioter shot dead by a Capitol Hill police officer as she tried to enter the House chamber. And other Republicans in Congress have accepted claims that the Jan. 6 defendants are “political prisoners,” arguing without evidence that the Justice Department has treated them harshly because of their policies rather than their conduct.
“Our hearts and minds are with those so unfairly persecuted in connection with the January 6 protest,” Trump said in a statement last month.
The Justice Department’s suggestion that this rhetoric could fuel further violence is the most direct it has taken on these claims to date.
Romano’s filing was in response to a decision by a New York magistrate who rejected prosecutors’ efforts to arrest Mattice, arguing that the threat he posed to the community was no longer relevant, since the transfer of power to the Biden administration had already taken place. . To detain an accused before trial, prosecutors must demonstrate that an accused presents a permanent danger to society – not just a precedent.
But the DOJ said the investigating judge didn’t get it.
“The threat of politically motivated violence has not gone away,” Romano wrote. “Political rallies, voting days and certifications of votes are not everyday occurrences, but they will happen again, as will the violence our country witnessed on January 6, 2021.”
Mattice, a native of Rochester, New York, was indicted alongside co-accused James Mault, who was taken into custody by a North Carolina magistrate for his own actions on Capitol Hill. The couple traveled to Washington together before January 6
Prosecutors said Mattice walked towards the police lines around 4 p.m. after officers retreated to a tunnel on the Western Front of the Capitol, the site of the day’s most intense violence. There, photos and videos show Mattice climbing the tunnel arch and aiming chemical spray at police officers.
Mattice told investigators he was in fact spraying other rioters to keep them away from the police, a claim prosecutors say is “clearly false.”
Prosecutors recovered texts between Mattice and Mault in which they discussed coming to DC armed for violence. At 3:23 PM on January 6, Mattice texted a friend saying “Me and James asked everyone to get through the police, me and James got into a fight through the police line on the walk. from the door of Capitol Hill lmao. A few minutes later, he texted his aunt to tell her that he and Mault “had fought like 4 or 5 cops and were victorious”.
“Awesome,” replied her aunt.
Subsequently, prosecutors said Mattice celebrated his role in the attack.
“It was me dope and James rocked everyone, brother,” he said in a text message obtained by prosecutors, “even the proud boys were thanking us, rightful brother, it looks like a movie from Fuck.”