'I hate this': Judges vent fury as defendants increasingly rely on conspiracy theories

MSN  20th Feb 2024

The federal court in Washington, D.C. has been pushing back against conspiracy theories that are still circulating about Jan. 6.

Judges in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia are confronting claims by Jan. 6 defendants and their supporters and are being more outspoken when it comes to countering the claims, which include the labeling of Jan. 6 defendants as "hostages," or claims that the Capitol riot was sparked by government informants.

One of those judges is Royce Lamberth, who declared during a sentencing hearing for a Jan. 6 defendant that the court "is accustomed to defendants who refuse to accept that they did anything wrong."

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"But in my 37 years on the bench, I cannot recall a time when such meritless justifications of criminal activity have gone mainstream," Lamberth said.

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"I have been dismayed to see outright distortions and outright falsehoods creep into the public consciousness," Lamberth continued. "I have been shocked to watch some public figures try to rewrite history, claiming rioters behaved in an orderly fashion like ordinary tourists, or martyrizing convicted Jan. 6 defendants as political prisoners or even, incredibly, hostages. That is all preposterous."

At another sentencing hearing last month, Judge Ana Reyes slammed rioters who compared themselves to America's Founding Fathers.

"I feel the need to give everyone a certain history lesson. Because there are people who believe and continue to believe that the election was stolen and that it is in the best tradition of our American Founding Fathers to rebel against tyranny," she said.

"I suggest that you read President Washington's farewell address. Because in it he warned Americans to 'guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.' And he warned, 'There will always be reasons to distrust the patriotism who in any quarter may endeavor to weaken the bonds of our democratic experiment,'" Reyes continued.

Reyes also commented on the frustration she feels with the challenges of sentencing defendants who had no criminal record prior to Jan. 6.

"I hate this. I hate all of this. I hate having to have these conversations. I hate that these conversations exist. I hate having to talk to two law-abiding individuals in this way," she said. "I can't tell you how much I just hate all of it."