Two judges appointed by former President Donald Trump are rejecting claims being made by Jan. 6 defendants that they are being treated more unfairly because of their conservative views than how left-leaning protesters from the 2020 riots in Portland, Oregon, had been handled.
Federal Judge Trevor McFadden, a judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, on Tuesday said the Jan. 6 defendants didn't have enough evidence that shows discrimination, reports CNN.
Last week, Judge Carl Nichols, also appointed to the federal court in D.C. by Trump, made a similar ruling.
In McFadden's ruling, Jan. 6 defendant David Lee Judd had asked that the judge examine Justice Department records about prosecution decisions in the Portland cases, and claimed that he had been treated unfairly compared to those cases.
But McFadden said on Tuesday that the riots in Portland did not risk the same threats to safety as the Jan. 6 protests at the Capitol posed, even though federal buildings were attacked in both cases.
"The Portland defendants primarily attacked at night, meaning that they raged against a largely vacant courthouse," McFadden wrote in his ruling. "In contrast, the January 6 rioters attacked the Capitol in broad daylight. And many entered it. ... Their actions endangered hundreds of federal officials in the Capitol complex. Members of Congress cowered under chairs while staffers blockaded themselves in offices, fearing physical attacks from the rioters."
Judd is charged with an indictment related to the three-hour battle inside one of the tunnels at the Capitol. Prosecutors are accusing him of throwing a firecracker at the police trying to hold back the protesters, and he has pleaded not guilty.
Meanwhile, Nichols, who is presiding over the case of Jan. 6 defendant Garrett Miller, said last week that there were "obvious differences" between the protests in Portland and at the U.S. Capitol, and ruled, like McFadden, that the D.C. protests had put hundreds of government officials in danger.
"The Portland rioters' conduct, while obviously serious, did not target a proceeding prescribed by the Constitution and established to ensure a peaceful transition of power," Nichols wrote in his decision. "Nor did the Portland rioters, unlike those who assailed America's Capitol in 2021, make it past the buildings' outer defenses."
However, McFadden criticized the DOJ for dropping cases in Oregon through decisions that were made while Trump was still in office and after President Joe Biden took over in January, and called the department's actions "suspicious."
The DOJ dropped 27 cases in the Portland riots, including five people who had been charged with felonies.
"Rarely has the Government shown so little interest in vigorously prosecuting those who attack federal officers," he wrote in his decision. "Especially during moments of politically charged unrest, the Justice Department must strive for even-handed justice. Judd raises troubling questions about the Department's adherence to this imperative in Portland."
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