A Judge Questioned If Capitol Rioters Are Getting Off Too Easy For 'Terrorizing Members Of Congress'

Jon Cherry / Getty Images Pro-Trump mob at US Capitol Jan. 6WASHINGTON - A federal judge questioned the government's decision to make deals in the Capitol Riot cases. These low-level misdemeanors are only used for individuals who enter the Capitol building on Jan. 6. Griffith was not charged with violence or property damage. Griffith was about to plead guilty in the District Court to one count of parading and demonstrating in a Capitol Building, a Class B Misdemeanor with a maximum sentence for six months in prison. US District Chief Judge Beryl Whatell asked Griffith to explain why Griffiths deal included a class of crime normally reserved for those who trespass in national parks at night. Howell asked if the government was concerned about Griffith's factual predicate, which involved the defendant joining a mob, entering the Capitol through a broken door, and wandering through it, terrorizing Congressmen, and stopping a constitutionally mandated duty, and Howell said. Is the government concerned about deterrence by agreeing to this petty offense? This was the second question asked by Howell. US District Judge Reggie Walton was one of Howells Washington DC colleagues. He briefly considered whether he should lock up two defendants who had signed similar deals to Griffiths. However, he eventually allowed them to return home until October. Griffith is the 27th defendant to be charged in the Jan. 6, riots. He also appears before a judge to plead guilt.Alex Wong/Getty Images Chief Judge Beryl HowardAlthough Howell accepted Griffith's guilty plea in the end, she, like Walton put the defense and government through many paces before she did. She asked if the government was worried that an agreement involving a low level misdemeanor would deter Griffith not only from participating in another similar event in the near future, but also to the wider universe of hundreds of people who gathered at the Capitol that day. The Jan. 6 insurrection was a result of a presidential election. H. Heather Shaner, Griffiths' lawyer, and Assistant US Attorney Mitra Jafary Hariri defended the agreement. They said that Griffith had expressed an interest in pleading guilty earlier on something defendants in the criminal justice system usually get credit for. Griffith also told Howell that he had co-operated with law enforcement officials by giving them access and turning over his devices. Jafary-Hariri stated that in those circumstances, the government was ready to make the deal. Howell countered the idea that Griffith was able to get the deal because he had cooperated with law enforcement officials by turning over his devices and giving them access to his social media. The cooperation described in the plea agreement only allowed Griffith to share his online activities with investigators. It did not include a commitment to speak with law enforcement nor testify before a grand jury. These types of cooperation agreements are common in plea deals that involve defendants who were accused of conspiring to attack the Capitol. Howell previously questioned whether the charges against those who participated in the riots were sufficient to capture the full extent of the events on Jan. 6. She ordered Richard Barnett, defendant in the riots case, to remain in jail. Barnett was charged with bringing a stun gun into the Capitol. Howell also faced several misdemeanor charges. Barnett was seen sitting in a chair at the House Speaker Nancy Pelosis office, his foot resting on the desk. He was later allowed to return home while his case is pending. During the January hearing, Howell stated that "What happened that day was criminal activity that will go down in history books of the country." This was not peaceful protest. Hundreds of protestors came to Washington, DC to disrupt the transition of power. Shaner was asked by email if she would comment on Howells comments. She replied, "You heard her." She was very clear.Department of Justice Facebook post by Jack Jesse Griffith aka Juan Bibiano. As it appears in the charging papers