WASHINGTON (WDVM) — The Department of Justice held a press conference on Friday, January 15, to give an update on the criminal investigation into the riot at the United States Capitol that happened on January 6.
According to Michael Sherwin, the Acting United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, 98 people have been charged in the riot thus far, mostly with federal felony charges. Sherwin said, “Initially, we were looking to fix, find and charge; the low hanging fruit, the people we could easily find and a great bulk of those were misdemeanor charges, but as the days and weeks continue, as the investigation continues, we are looking at more significant felony charges.”
The charges have led to some people taking initiative and getting themselves a lawyer before turning themselves in. Sherwin explained, “We’ve had several people, given how we’re charging these cases and what we’re charging them with, have self-reported and turned themselves in with attorneys, and we encourage the public to do that.”
As of Friday morning, there were 275 open subject files under investigation, and Sherwin expects there to be well over 300 by the start of the weekend. Still, there is much more progress to go before there is a full understanding of what happened at the Capitol on January 6. Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, Steven D’Antuono, explained, “If this investigation was a football game, we’d still be in the first quarter.”
D’Antuono said the agency is working with all partners to find every piece to the puzzle. He said, “We are making progress on all fronts: the pipe bomb case, the rioting, and violence investigation and the death of US Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick.” Part of the reason so many people have already been arrested and charged is due to the vigilance of the American people.
D’Antuono said people have submitted over 140,000 tips in one week alone. He said, “To those of you who took part in the violence, here’s something you should know: Every FBI field office in the country is looking for you. As a matter of fact, even your friends and family are tipping us off.” Sherwin added, “We don’t care what your profession is, who you are, what you’re affiliated with. If you were conducting or engaging in criminal activity, we will charge you and you will be arrested.”
The agencies said that every criminal will pay the price, but right now the main focus is on violent offenders, specifically those who were attacking law enforcement officers.