A federal judge suggested Monday that federal prosecutors were being too lenient in their handling of cases stemming from the storming of the U.S. Capitol as lawmakers were convening on Jan. 6 to certify Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential race.
Beryl Howell, the chief judge of the federal court in Washington deluged with more than 550 prosecutions from the Capitol riot, raised questions about why some defendants were being permitted to resolve their criminal cases by pleading guilty to a misdemeanor and why the amount of money prosecutors are seeking to recover through those plea deals was based on a relatively paltry estimate of about $1.5 million in damages caused by the rioters.
Howell aired her doubts during what was expected to be a routine morning hearing to take the guilty plea of a Capitol riot defendant, Glenn Croy of Colorado Springs, Colo. Croy was arrested in February on charges that he and another man, Terry Lindsey, illegally entered the Capitol building on Jan. 6.
Under a deal with prosecutors, Croy was seeking to plead guilty to a single misdemeanor charge of parading or picketing in the Capitol. That carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.