Trump says he will 'free the January 6 hostages' if re-elected in November election

 March 12, 2024

Former President Donald Trump announced Monday that, if re-elected, among his first acts in office would be freeing Americans "wrongfully imprisoned" for their actions during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot of 2021, The Hill reported.

Trump, along with a substantial number of Americans, view many of the Jan. 6 defendants -- certainly at least the non-violent ones -- as political prisoners who are victims of partisan persecution by President Joe Biden's Justice Department.

To be sure, some of the participants in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot engaged in violence against law enforcement during the hours-long unrest that disrupted and delayed the certification of Biden's 2020 electoral victory, but many others who've been prosecuted and imprisoned were merely present as protesters in or around the Capitol complex and otherwise committed no real crimes.

Trump says he will "Free the January 6 Hostages"

In a Truth Social post on Monday evening, former President Trump offered a glimpse of what some of his top priorities would be upon retaking office if he wins re-election in November.

"My first acts as your next President will be to Close the Border, DRILL, BABY, DRILL, and Free the January 6 Hostages being wrongfully imprisoned!" he wrote.

Border security, including reducing and ultimately stopping the cross-border incursions of illegal immigrants and traffickers, and energy independence, including the development and production of all forms of naturally occurring and renewable energy resources, are issues that Trump promoted during his first term in office.

As for freeing the "January 6 Hostages," undoubtedly about non-violent Jan. 6 protesters who merely entered or milled around the U.S. Capitol building during the riot sparked by concerns about the integrity of the 2020 election, that is a new issue that arose after Trump left office.

DOJ brags about its Jan. 6 arrests, prosecutions, and sentences

On Jan. 6, 2024, President Biden's DOJ marked the third anniversary of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot with a public update on its efforts to track down and prosecute American citizens who participated in the unrest that temporarily delayed the congressional certification of the 2020 election results.

It was noted that as of that date, at least 1,265 individuals had been arrested and charged -- though just 452 of those defendants faced charges related to engaging in violence against law enforcement.

Most of those arrested faced charges for non-violent activities like "entering or remaining in a restricted federal building or grounds," or more dubiously with "corruptly obstructing, influencing, or impeding an official proceeding."

Of those who've been arrested and charged, at least 718 pleaded guilty in deals offered by prosecutors, including more than 500 who pled guilty to non-violent misdemeanors. In contrast, more than 150 defendants were found guilty by a Washington D.C. judge or jury following a contested trial, with only about half of those verdicts involving violent crimes against law enforcement.

So far, roughly 750 defendants have faced sentencing, with nearly 500 of them being incarcerated for some time while another approximately 150 were sentenced to home confinement, and slightly more than two dozen received a mixture of prison time and home confinement.

Distinction must be drawn between violent and non-violent

To be sure, the individuals who have been proven to have engaged in unprovoked violence against law enforcement during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot ought to be held accountable for their actions -- albeit with charges and sentences that match that of violent participants in other protests and riots over the past several years.

That said, the non-violent Jan. 6 defendants who've been harshly persecuted and sentenced by overzealous prosecutors, judges, and juries for political reasons ought to be set free and, in some cases, have their records cleared or receive some other just compensation for their partisan imprisonment.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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