Two years ago on this day, a mob of angry Donald Trump supporters broke through police barricades and entered the US Capitol. Now many of those involved in the attack are serving time in federal prison or preparing to serve their sentences.
More than two dozen people from the Dallas area were arrested as part of a massive case, the largest criminal investigation in US history. Across the country, authorities have arrested more than 870 defendants in almost every state. Of these, more than 265 people were charged with assaulting law enforcement officers or obstructing their implementation.
Kevin Krause, who covers federal court for the Dallas Morning News, said Texas was the second most defendant after Florida after the riots, followed by Pennsylvania, New York, California and Ohio.
“This is not unusual in a state the size of Texas, but it is notable that we have a number of defendants who have played a more important role, such as organizing members of the militia to participate in the January 6 event,” he said. “And we do have a large number of individuals accused of attacking the Capitol cops defending the Capitol that day. So we definitely stand out.”
Krause said the FBI’s Dallas office, which covers much of North and East Texas, made more January 6-related arrests than any other local FBI office in the country. Among them were several dignitaries.
“Guy Refitt made national headlines,” Krause said. “He was the first person to stand trial in the country and was convicted by a jury. This is Wiley’s man, a former oil rig worker who was apparently a Three Percent, some kind of militia group. And, apparently, he threatened his children so that they would not hand him over.
Another major case in the Dallas area involved Stuart Rhodes, who was also recently convicted in a jury trial, Krause said. He is the founder of the Oath Keepers militia group and was convicted of sedition, the most serious charge so far.
“Of the approximately 27 people from North Texas, nearly two-thirds were convicted either through pleas or convictions in court,” Krause said. “One of the recent pleas was Garrett Miller, who was the Richardson man charged with storming the Capitol and making death threats against members of Congress and the Capitol police. He was due to stand trial, and on the eve of the trial, he pleaded guilty. So he will be sentenced in February.”
Krause said it’s generally believed that most serious cases have already been charged, and most of what’s to come in the Jan. 6 investigation is new trials and charges. However, he said there could be more arrests on the horizon on minor charges, such as misdemeanors for trespassing.
With so many defendants in North Texas, the trial points to a more widespread problem of extremism in the region, Krause said.
“I think the takeaway is that political violence, threats and extremism are really a big problem for the feds in North Texas,” he said.