US agencies say rioters wanted to ‘capture and assassinate’ elected officials at the Capitol
In one of the most expansive US investigations, with all 56 FBI field offices involved, hundreds of criminal cases are expected to be opened
Washington — Rioters who invaded the US Capitol last week were planning to “capture and assassinate” elected officials, according to federal prosecutors seeking to keep an Arizona man in custody.
US government officials want to detain Jacob Chansley, the insurrectionist who was photographed wearing an animal headdress and standing at the dais that vice-president Mike Pence deserted when the rioters laid siege to the building.
A court filing on Thursday revealed chilling new details of the role Chansley allegedly played in the riot, describing a letter he left for Pence saying, “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.”
“Strong evidence, including Chansley’s own words and actions at the Capitol, supports that the intent of the Capitol rioters was to capture and assassinate elected officials in the US government,” prosecutors said.
Chansley told law enforcement officials that his letter for Pence was not a threat, but he also referred to the vice-president as a “child-trafficking traitor”, according to the filing.
“Though he stated his note was not a threat, the government strongly disagrees,” prosecutors said, urging a federal judge to keep Chansley in custody.
Chansley has been charged with obstruction of an official proceeding, entering and remaining in a restricted building, and disorderly and disruptive conduct, among several other charges.
In recent days, US prosecutors have ramped up the investigation into last week’s riot at the Capitol, with about 200 suspects under scrutiny and law enforcement officials planning charges of sedition and conspiracy.
It’s one of the most expansive criminal investigations in the history of the justice department, with a wide assortment of agencies helping build cases, including the FBI and US Marshals. All 56 FBI field offices are involved.
“The scope and scale of this investigation in these cases are really unprecedented,” Michael Sherwin, the acting US attorney in Washington, told reporters on Tuesday. “We are going to have, I believe, hundreds of criminal cases.”
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