A federal judge overseeing the Biden Justice Department's case against an Infowars host charged in the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol is calling on prosecutors to respond to why they are not treating the defendant as a media member.
"The events of Jan. 6 were an attack on the foundation of our democracy, but this does not relieve the Department of Justice from following its own guidelines, written to preserve the very same democracy," U.S. Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui, appointed in September 2020, wrote Tuesday, ordering prosecutors to respond to their own policy, The Wall Street Journal reported.
"The Department of Justice appears to believe that it is the sole enforcer of its regulations. That leaves the court to wonder who watches the watchmen."
Biden Attorney General Merrick Garland's new policy had put limits on pursuing journalists in federal investigations, in defense of freedom of the press, but that same DOJ sought a warrant to arrest the talk-show host, Owen Shroyer, raising the judge's concern.
Prosecutors responded to the judge saying it was not appropriate for the court to question the DOJ's implementation of internal policies, the Journal reported.
Also, the prosecutors pointed to Judge Faruqui's own admission there was sufficient evidence to warrant the investigation of Shroyer, adding their limitations were not germane to this investigation.
Garland's memo on the limitations to restrict the calling for media members to disclose their sources did note it would not apply to media members under investigation for activities outside "the scope of newsgathering."
The Federal Bureau of Investigation agent's affidavit for the arrest of Shroyer alleged "The War Room With Owen Shroyer" had entered a restricted area on the west side of the Capitol on Jan. 6 without authorization.
Shroyer's defense includes he never had intention for violence and was merely covering the event as a journalist. Infowars does not have White House or congressional credentials, according to the report.
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