Attorney General William Barr reportedly told federal prosecutors to aggressively charge protesters for crimes, to make an example for other people who might want to increase violent demonstrations leading up to the November election.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Barr told U.S. attorneys last week to use federal charges when prosecuting people accused of protest-related crimes. He made that request even when prosecutors could apply state charges.
Barr reportedly also presented a list of charges under the sedition law. But legal experts said using those charges would require proof of a conspiracy to attack government agents.
The Journal reported officials have also looked into invoking a statute that would allow protesters to be charged if they impeded or obstructed police officers responding to unrest.
Barr warned the U.S. attorneys violent protests would continue until the presidential election in November.
Throughout the United States, more than 200 people have received charges related to violent crimes during demonstrations. Those include arson, assault on federal officers and gun crimes, the Journal reported.
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