Federal prosecutors withdraw allegation that Capitol rioters wanted to “capture and assassinate” lawmakers

by Peter Heck · Jan 18th, 2021 9:36 am

Last Updated Jan 19th, 2021 at 3:42 pm

Although prosecutors for the U.S. Justice Department had alleged in a court filing that the rioters who stormed the Capitol building were planning to "capture and assassinate elected officials,"they have now formally walked back that claim.

A federal prosecutor requested that a magistrate judge in Arizona eliminate that line from the charge against Jacob Anthony Chansley, who is believed to have been a leader in the first wave of rioters who entered the Capitol.

"Strong evidence, including Chansley's own words and actions at the Capitol, supports that the intent of the Capitol rioters was to capture and assassinate elected officials in the United States Government," read the initial allegation that prosecutors want eliminated.

In addition to the case in Arizona, Michael Sherwin, who serves as the U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C., said that there is "no direct evidence of kill and capture teams" among those who breached Capitol Hill security on January 6.

The case against Chansley, who entered the Capitol building with a spear and wearing a fur headdress, is largely built around the Trump supporter's own words. After standing at the dais where Vice President Mike Pence stood to certify the Electoral College vote, Chansley left a note that read, "it's only a matter of time, justice is coming."

Chansley explained that the note was not a death threat, but rather a statement of fact that the vice president will soon face justice for being a "child-trafficking traitor."

Prosecutors say that Chansley is mentally ill and abuses drugs regularly.


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