Prosecutors And Judges Really Don’t Want You To Call Capitol Rioters "Tourists"

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  tessylo  •  3 weeks ago  •  19 comments

By:   Zoe Tillman, Buzzfeed News

Prosecutors And Judges Really Don’t Want You To Call Capitol Rioters "Tourists"

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T




Prosecutors And Judges Really Don’t Want You To Call Capitol Rioters "Tourists"









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Zoe Tillman

Sun, August 22, 2021, 10:23 AM





WASHINGTON — When Robert Reeder sat down with two FBI agents in April to talk about his involvement in the Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol, he described himself as an “accidental tourist with a phone trying to document everything.”




The government wasn’t buying it. Reeder “was a rioter violating the law; not a journalist; not a tourist,” the prosecutor countered this month in a brief that slammed Reeder’s apparent lack of remorse despite pleading guilty. It made the case that he should serve jail time as a “dose of reality.” When Reeder’s lawyer objected to calling his client a rioter, the prosecutor struck back, attacking Reeder’s efforts to portray himself as a “lost tourist,” a “hapless tourist,” and an “innocent and unlucky tourist.”

In the months since a Republican member of Congress went viral in May for comparing footage of rioters inside the Capitol to a   “normal tourist visit,”   the word has become a symbol of GOP efforts to downplay the violence on Jan. 6 and criticize the investigation. The “tourist” comparison has struck a nerve not only with the prosecutors bringing these cases but also with the presiding judges. In court filings and hearings, they’ve made clear just how much it bothers them.

The government accused Reeder of trying to falsely cast himself as a tourist and downplay his participation in the attack on the Capitol in hopes of securing a lighter sentence. Reeder was supposed to be sentenced Aug. 18, but the sentencing was postponed after   new videos surfaced   hours before the hearing that appeared to show Reeder assaulting a US Capitol police officer.


“The Defendant was not an innocent and unlucky tourist,” Assistant US Attorney Joshua Rothstein wrote in an Aug. 13 brief ; “he was an active participant in criminal behavior against a sitting branch of government.”


A judge and prosecutor in an entirely separate Jan. 6 case took a swipe at the “tourist” reference this week too. Leonard Gruppo of New Mexico appeared before US District Chief Judge Beryl Howell on Wednesday to plead guilty to one misdemeanor count for parading, demonstrating, and picketing inside the Capitol. Howell asked Gruppo what exactly he was demonstrating about when he walked into the Capitol — was he there to protest Congress certifying the results of the election?

Gruppo paused. He replied that he was there to support former president Donald Trump. That answer didn’t satisfy Howell, who pushed him to explain further — he wasn’t just a “tourist” looking around, right? Gruppo agreed. When the judge asked the government to confirm that Gruppo’s conduct on Jan. 6 fit the elements of the crime he was pleading guilty to — that is, that he had disrupted Congress — the prosecutor said that was correct, and that for someone to plead guilty to the “demonstrating” charge, their actions had to go beyond “tourism.”

The “tourist” gripe came up in the case of Joshua and Jessica Bustle, a Virginia couple who, like Reeder and Gruppo, pleaded guilty to demonstrating in the Capitol. The Bustles were arguing for a sentence of probation, while the government wanted them to serve a period of home incarceration. The prosecutor urged the judge to consider that even though the couple pleaded guilty to a relatively low-level crime, their decision to enter the Capitol “took place in the context of a large and violent riot that relied on numbers to overwhelm law enforcement, breach the Capitol, and disrupt the proceedings.”

“Make no mistake,” Assistant US Attorney Michael Romano wrote in the government’s July 30   brief , “no rioter was a mere tourist that day.”

Rothstein repeated that line verbatim in the initial sentencing   brief   he filed the following week in Reeder’s case.

US District Judge Thomas Hogan picked up on Romano’s thread during the sentencing hearing for the Bustles on Aug. 4, rebuffing the idea that the couple were “tourists” after one of their lawyers tried to argue that it was unfair to characterize them as rioters. The judge noted that as they entered the Capitol amid the large crowds of people, they would have heard blaring alarms, walked past broken windows, and smelled pepper spray in the air. He sentenced them to a term of home confinement — one month for Joshua and two months for Jessica.

“This was not a normal situation,” Hogan said.

Other judges have previously pushed back on the “tourist” comparison. Long before Georgia Republican Rep. Andrew Clyde’s remarks sparked widespread backlash in May, Howell had commented during a hearing in March that people who arrived in DC with tactical vests and communicated in advance about how to get bear spray weren’t in the city as “normal tourists.”

In June, during the first sentencing in any of the Capitol riot cases, for defendant Anna Morgan-Lloyd, who also took a misdemeanor plea deal, US District Judge Royce Lamberth called out Republicans who had used the term.

“I’m especially troubled by the accounts of some members of Congress that Jan. 6 was just a day of tourists walking through the Capitol,” Lamberth said at the time. “I don’t know what planet they were on.”

Shortly before announcing a sentence earlier this month for defendant Karl Dresch, US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson spoke about the seriousness of the assault on the Capitol and how participants were responsible for what happened even if they didn’t commit some of the more violent crimes that day. She read aloud an excerpt from a Facebook message Dresch had posted the day after the insurrection in which he wrote, “we the people took back our house, the news is all bullshit.and now those traitors Know who’s really in charge.”

“So,” Jackson said, “he’s not your typical tourist.”









Article is LOCKED by author/seeder
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Tessylo
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Tessylo    3 weeks ago

Any BLM protests are off topic.  

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
2  seeder  Tessylo    3 weeks ago
" When Robert Reeder sat down with two FBI agents in April to talk about his involvement in the Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol, he described himself as an “accidental tourist with a phone trying to document everything.”

The government wasn’t buying it. Reeder “was a rioter violating the law; not a journalist; not a tourist,” the prosecutor countered this month in a brief that slammed Reeder’s apparent lack of remorse despite pleading guilty. It made the case that he should serve jail time as a “dose of reality.” When Reeder’s lawyer objected to calling his client a rioter, the prosecutor struck back, attacking Reeder’s efforts to portray himself as a “lost tourist,” a “hapless tourist,” and an “innocent and unlucky tourist.”

In the months since a Republican member of Congress went viral in May for comparing footage of rioters inside the Capitol to a      “normal tourist visit,”       the word has become a symbol of GOP efforts to downplay the violence on Jan. 6 and criticize the investigation. The “tourist” comparison has struck a nerve not only with the prosecutors bringing these cases but also with the presiding judges. In court filings and hearings, they’ve made clear just how much it bothers them.

The government accused Reeder of trying to falsely cast himself as a tourist and downplay his participation in the attack on the Capitol in hopes of securing a lighter sentence. Reeder was supposed to be sentenced Aug. 18, but the sentencing was postponed after    new videos surfaced    hours before the hearing that appeared to show Reeder assaulting a US Capitol police officer.

“The Defendant was not an innocent and unlucky tourist,” Assistant US Attorney Joshua Rothstein wrote in an Aug. 13  brief  ; “he was an active participant in criminal behavior against a sitting branch of government.”
 
 
 
Greg Jones
PhD Expert
3  Greg Jones    3 weeks ago

The vast majority of those accidental tourists committed no prosecutable crime

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
3.1  seeder  Tessylo  replied to  Greg Jones @3    3 weeks ago

All 600 of them and counting?

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
4  Trout Giggles    3 weeks ago
Gruppo paused. He replied that he was there to support former president Donald Trump. That answer didn’t satisfy Howell, who pushed him to explain further — he wasn’t just a “tourist” looking around, right? Gruppo agreed. When the judge asked the government to confirm that Gruppo’s conduct on Jan. 6 fit the elements of the crime he was pleading guilty to — that is, that he had disrupted Congress — the prosecutor said that was correct, and that for someone to plead guilty to the “demonstrating” charge, their actions had to go beyond “tourism.” (emphasis mine)

Who was the joker who posted a seed claiming that the FBI found no evidence that the insurrectionists were trying to overturn the election? And may I remind every one that the day the riot happened was the day that the election results were to be certified.

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
Senior Expert
4.1  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Trout Giggles @4    3 weeks ago
"The House committee investigating what happened at the Capitol on Jan. 6 announced Monday that it will try to    obtain phone records    from several hundred people, including lawmakers, to get to the bottom of what was discussed beforehand.  This follows an Aug. 20   report by Reuters  , already generating fierce political controversy, that a long-running FBI investigation has concluded the events in the Capitol were not "the result of an organized plot to overthrow the presidential election result." Quoting current and former law enforcement sources with knowledge of the investigation, Reuters said the FBI "at this point believes the violence was not centrally coordinated" and has found "no evidence that [President Trump] or people directly around him were involved."

msn

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
4.1.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @4.1    3 weeks ago

Ok...got it wrong. The FBI didn't find evidence of a conspiracy. Or that trmp's cronies were involved.

BUT!

There were groups there like the Proud Boys, QAnon, and others that conspired within their groups to go there and cause trouble. Maybe the groups didn't conspire with each other, but they definitely conspired with their group members.

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
Senior Expert
4.1.2  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Trout Giggles @4.1.1    3 weeks ago

Can't disagree with you on that.

jrSmiley_13_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
4.1.3  Trout Giggles  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @4.1.2    3 weeks ago

So there was a degree of conspiracy involved it just wasn't highly organized.

I guess nobody wanted to herd cats that day

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
4.1.4  seeder  Tessylo  replied to  Trout Giggles @4.1.1    3 weeks ago

Hey, at least you admit it TG, unlike some others who I won't name.  

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
4.1.5  Trout Giggles  replied to  Tessylo @4.1.4    3 weeks ago

It's unmanly for conservatives to admit they're wrong about something

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
5  JohnRussell    3 weeks ago

What did the rioters plan to do once they got inside? A drum circle ? 

83d0f4f6549d9e63c36d68852fac151d.jpg

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
5.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  JohnRussell @5    3 weeks ago

Oh, they had plans, there's no doubt about it. One of them was to hang Mike Pence. Another was to murder Pelosi. And the biggest reason they were there was to stop the certification

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
5.1.1  JohnRussell  replied to  Trout Giggles @5.1    3 weeks ago

Some of these righties are trying to spread the nonsense that they just intended to go in there and wander around. 

It doesnt matter if it was pre-plotted to every detail. They went in there specifically to intimidate and/or harm (if the intimidation didnt work) the congresspeople that were voting on the election

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
6  JohnRussell    3 weeks ago

What did "Stop The Steal " mean to Trump supporters at the Capitol Building on Jan 6th ? 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
6.1  JohnRussell  replied to  JohnRussell @6    3 weeks ago

I would actually like to hear some conservative answer this question -

What did "Stop The Steal " mean to Trump supporters at the Capitol Building on Jan 6th ?

  It had to have meant something. 

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
6.1.1  seeder  Tessylo  replied to  JohnRussell @6.1    3 weeks ago

Note the deafening silence from the trumpturdians.  

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
7  Ender    3 weeks ago

I wasn't there...

Uh, you took video. We have you there.

I didn't mean to be. I was swept up in a crowd...

On the video you are leading the crowd with chants and telling them to follow you.

I was looking for an exit. I was trying to lead people away...

Again, you are on tape saying the election was stolen and citing conspiracy theories.

I am a changed man. I know they lead me astray...

...goes home and immediately goes to online website conspiracy guides...

 
 
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