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US Capitol rioters face sedition charges

The United States has opened criminal investigations of more than 170 people who stormed the Capitol last week and plans to charge some of the most serious of...
The United States has opened criminal investigations of more than 170 people who stormed the Capitol last week and plans to charge some of the most serious offenders with assault and seditious conspiracy for their role in the violence, a federal prosecutor says. Hundreds of supporters of President Donald Trump ransacked the Capitol building as Congress was in session to certify President-elect Joe Biden's win, battling with police, sending lawmakers fleeing for safety and leaving five dead. Acting Washington, DC, US Attorney Michael Sherwin said his office expected hundreds of people ultimately to be charged as the FBI reviews more than 100,000 photos and videos of the unrest - some of which were taken by participants as they smashed windows and stole things. "The scope and scale of this investigation and these cases are really unprecedented, not only in FBI history, but probably DOJ history," Sherwin told a news conference. "The Capitol grounds outside and inside are ... a crime scene." Sherwin said 70 criminal cases had been filed to date but he predicted hundreds of cases would come out of the probe. While many of them involve people whose photos went viral on social media, such as one of a man pictured sitting at the desk of a staffer of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, he said more serious charges were coming and a grand jury has been reviewing the cases. "We're looking at significant felony cases tied to sedition and conspiracy," Sherwin said, noting his office has launched a strike force whose marching orders are to build criminal cases around such charges. He said other strike forces had been formed to focus on assaults on law enforcement and members of the media. "The range of criminal conduct is really ... unmatched in any type of scenario that we've seen," Sherwin said, noting it runs the gamut from "simple trespass" and "theft of mail" to "felony murder and even civil rights excessive force". Federal law enforcement officials on Tuesday announced more arrests in New York and Chicago. Aaron Mostofsky, whom news outlets identified as the son of New York Supreme Court Judge Shlomo Mostofsky, was arrested after photos of him at the US Capitol dressed in a fur costume appeared in an article by the New York Post. He was charged with theft of government property, unlawful entry, knowingly impeding government business and disorderly conduct. He was released on a $US100,000 ($A130,000 ) bail following a hearing in Brooklyn on Tuesday. Louis Capriotti, 45, of Illinois, was also charged on Tuesday for leaving a threatening voice mail to a member of Congress in late December. Several other suspects appeared in federal courts on Tuesday, including Lonnie Coffman, whom a judge ordered be detained after police discovered explosives and guns in his car, along with notes containing the name of a member of Congress. Australian Associated Press

The United States has opened criminal investigations of more than 170 people who stormed the Capitol last week and plans to charge some of the most serious offenders with assault and seditious conspiracy for their role in the violence, a federal prosecutor says.

Hundreds of supporters of President Donald Trump ransacked the Capitol building as Congress was in session to certify President-elect Joe Biden's win, battling with police, sending lawmakers fleeing for safety and leaving five dead.

Acting Washington, DC, US Attorney Michael Sherwin said his office expected hundreds of people ultimately to be charged as the FBI reviews more than 100,000 photos and videos of the unrest - some of which were taken by participants as they smashed windows and stole things.

"The scope and scale of this investigation and these cases are really unprecedented, not only in FBI history, but probably DOJ history," Sherwin told a news conference. "The Capitol grounds outside and inside are ... a crime scene."

Sherwin said 70 criminal cases had been filed to date but he predicted hundreds of cases would come out of the probe.

While many of them involve people whose photos went viral on social media, such as one of a man pictured sitting at the desk of a staffer of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, he said more serious charges were coming and a grand jury has been reviewing the cases.

"We're looking at significant felony cases tied to sedition and conspiracy," Sherwin said, noting his office has launched a strike force whose marching orders are to build criminal cases around such charges.

He said other strike forces had been formed to focus on assaults on law enforcement and members of the media.

"The range of criminal conduct is really ... unmatched in any type of scenario that we've seen," Sherwin said, noting it runs the gamut from "simple trespass" and "theft of mail" to "felony murder and even civil rights excessive force".

Federal law enforcement officials on Tuesday announced more arrests in New York and Chicago.

Aaron Mostofsky, whom news outlets identified as the son of New York Supreme Court Judge Shlomo Mostofsky, was arrested after photos of him at the US Capitol dressed in a fur costume appeared in an article by the New York Post.

He was charged with theft of government property, unlawful entry, knowingly impeding government business and disorderly conduct. He was released on a $US100,000 ($A130,000 ) bail following a hearing in Brooklyn on Tuesday.

Louis Capriotti, 45, of Illinois, was also charged on Tuesday for leaving a threatening voice mail to a member of Congress in late December.

Several other suspects appeared in federal courts on Tuesday, including Lonnie Coffman, whom a judge ordered be detained after police discovered explosives and guns in his car, along with notes containing the name of a member of Congress.

Australian Associated Press

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