Rep. Louie Gohmert questioned Merrick Garland on the treatment of January 6 prisoners being held in a Washington, D.C. jail. Recently, a D.C. judge said it was “clear” the rights of one defendant “were violated” and instructed Garland to investigate.
“You know well, you’ve been a circuit court judge, that confinement, pretrial confinement, is not ever to be used as punishment,” charged Gohmert. “Yet, there are people, and understand as a former tough, law and order judge, I would sentence everyone, regardless of their party, who did violence or committed crimes to appropriate sentences.”
“But for heaven’s sake, they are being abused in the D.C. jail,” said the Texan. “Have you done an inspection over there at the DC jail since your department has some jurisdiction,” he asked Garland.
“So, my understanding is that Judge Lamberth, who I respect very much,” began Garland before being stopped by Gohmert, who added, “Yeah, he held the warden in contempt but we haven’t seen improvement.”
Louie Gohmert to AG Merrick Garland on the treatment of January 6 prisoners:
"I'm a former tough, law and order judge," said Gohmert, "But for heaven's sake, they are being abused in the DC jail. Have you done an inspection?" pic.twitter.com/eYfDejiCdv
— National File (@NationalFile) October 21, 2021
Last week, Judge Royce Lamberth held the jail’s warden in contempt of court and instructed Garland’s agency “to investigate whether inmates civil rights” are being abused. “It’s clear to me the civil rights of the defendant were violated by the D.C. Department of Corrections,” said Lamberth. “I don’t know if it’s because he’s a January 6 defendant or not.”
“Well he asked for a review and the Justice Department is conducting a review,” said Garland, noting the U.S. Marshals recently inspected the jail. “The civil rights division is examining the circumstances,” the embattled Attorney General said, “This is the District of Columbia jail, this is not the bureau of prisons,” added Garland.
Many January 6 defendants have been held in pretrial confinement on reasons their lawyers describe as spurious. One defendant, Zach Rehl, is currently being held in a Philadelphia jail, but prosecutors are now attempting to move him to Washington, D.C. He has been confined since March of this year, thus unable to provide for his family, and missed the birth of his daughter while in jail.
The Department of Justice has successfully argued that, as the Philadelphia chapter president of the Proud Boys, Rehl could organize another event like January 6. Through his lawyer, Jon Moseley, Rehl maintains he had nothing to do with organizing the violence. He maintains his innocence, and some have described the attempt to move him to Washington, D.C. where Judge Lamberth said a defendant’s civil rights were violated as intimidation. Rehl is currently raising money for his defense at DefendZach.com.
Meanwhile, in one of the filings used to justify the arrest and prosecution of a man who attended the protest on January 6, it is admitted that a federal law enforcement officer was present at the protest on January 6, as National File uncovered. The New York Times also recently reported there were at least two federal informants in the crowd.
Gohmert also referred to a mass act of civil disobedience taken by Democrats in June of 2016, when over 50 Democrats in the House of Representatives obstructed the official proceedings of Congress for over a day by sitting on the floor. No legal action was pursued against the Democrats who obstructed official proceedings of Congress, though many January 6 protesters are charged with “obstructing an official proceeding,” as Gohmert and Garland both noted earlier.
“Most of the Democrat members of Congress took over the House floor and for the first time in American history, Members of Congress obstructed official proceedings not for four to six hours, but for virtually 26 hours,” noted Gohmert.
“Not just violating over a dozen House rules, but actually committing the felonies that some of the January 6 people are charged with. That was during the Obama administration, nobody has been charged.” According to Gohmert, this “gives people the indication that there is a two tiered justice system here in America.”