Swamp Justice. The prosecution of Jan. 6 prisoners, many of whom remain locked up in D.C.'s American Gulag, and the criminal trial of Clinton campaign attorney Michael Sussmann are providing a clear picture of just what that entails.
When it comes to a trial in D.C., you're talking about drawing from a jury pool in a place in which President Donald Trump won just 5% of the vote in 2020, compared to 92% for Joe Biden. At the time, Trump’s job approval in D.C. stood at 12%, 18 points lower than Massachusetts, his worst polling state, according to SurveyMonkey.
One defense attorney labeled D.C. a place of “extreme community prejudice” with “an absolute lack of political diversity” and “tribal political landscape,” Rowan Scarborough noted in a May 25 analysis for The Washington Times.
Several Jan. 6 defendants have sought to have their cases moved to another jurisdiction.
One is Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys who was not in D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021.
“Tarrio, as the face and symbol of the Proud Boys, has received the Democratic party’s seething hatred, which cannot be contained, mitigated, or controlled,” his attorneys argued in a court brief filed this month. “Tarrio stands for the antithesis of leftist liberal ideology and must be crushed, destroyed and canceled by the left-leaning members of the jury pool of Washington D.C.”
Lawyers also wrote, “In this atmosphere of extreme community prejudice and D.C.’s tribal political landscape, a fair trial for Tarrio is impossible. … There is an absolute lack of political diversity in D.C. that is sui generis in our political system.”
Attorneys Sabino Jauregui and Nayib Hassan want the case moved to Tarrio’s home turf of southern Florida.
Jan. 6 defendants Thomas Caldwell and Connie Meggs, both members of the Oath Keepers, want their trial moved across the Potomac River to the Alexandria, Virginia, courthouse.
"One of the big political selling points by the Biden White House, elected Democrats and the Biden Justice Department is that the Jan. 6 protesters are guilty of an insurrection," Scarborough noted. A survey of the D.C. pool of voters who make up juries overwhelmingly back that argument, with 76% agreeing.
Scarborough noted that the federal public defender office in D.C. commissioned the firm Select Litigation LLC to assess the jury pool. It did two comparative polls — one of D.C. and the other of Atlanta.
“Prospective jurors in the District of Columbia have decidedly negative impressions of individuals arrested in conjunction with the activities of January 6, 2021,” Select Litigation said in a report filed in court. “Their bias against the defendants is evident in numerous results and is reflected in a significant prejudgment of the case: a clear majority admit they would be inclined to vote ‘guilty’ if they were serving on a jury at the defendants’ trial.”
In April, a D.C. jury convicted Jan. 6 defendant Dustin Thompson after less than three hours of deliberations.
Defendant Matthew Martin of Santa Fe, New Mexico, also went on trial that month, but chose a judge, not a D.C. jury, for a verdict.
Judge Trevor N. McFadden found him not guilty of all charges after two days of testimony. Martin faced a similar list of charges of hundreds of other Jan. 6 defendants: entering a restricted building, disorderly conduct, and demonstrating and parading inside the Capitol. Judge McFadden, a 2017 Trump appointee, said it was not unreasonable for Mr. Martin to assume he was let into the building by police.
In the case of Sussmann, who is on trial for allegedly lying to the FBI while spreading anti-Trump propaganda, independent media confirmed that campaign donors to Hillary Clinton sat among the jury pool.
“I think Durham’s biggest problem from beginning to end is that Washington jury,” National Review legal analyst Andrew McCarthy said on the “Brian Kilmeade Show.”
Special Counsel John Durham’s team delivered its closing argument in the trial of Sussmann on Friday morning, saying the evidence has "proven beyond a reasonable doubt" that Sussmann made a false statement to the FBI.
Given that the case is now before a D.C. jury, it's not likely that Durham's team in reality has high hopes for a conviction.