Federal prosecutor Michael Sherwin admitted in an interview aired on Sunday that evidence is “trending towards” charging some Capitol rioters with the crime of sedition.
According to 18 USC § 2384, seditious conspiracy occurs “if any two or more persons … conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States.”
A former federal prosecutor from Miami, Sherwin has overseen high-level narcotics and terrorism cases. He was asked last year to be the top DC federal prosecutor by former attorney general William Barr. Since his DC appointment, he has overseen the largest criminal investigation in US history, stemming from the events that occurred at the US Capitol on January 6. When asked about whether any of the charges would include sedition, Sherwin responded, “I believe the facts do support those charges. And I think that, as we go forward, more facts will support that.”
Since the investigation began, 400 defendants have been criminally charged, most of them with federal crimes. To date, 20 of the defendants are members of the Proud Boys, and 10 defendants are members of the Oath Keepers. Both groups are far-right militant organizations. Sherwin calls these cases the “more complex conspiracy cases where we do have evidence.”
Sherwin admits that one of the reasons the department moved so rapidly was because of the upcoming inauguration and the fear of more violence. More than 100 arrests were made in the weeks prior to the inauguration. Sherwin states that “it worked because we saw through media posts that people were afraid to come back to DC because they’re like…’if we go there, we’re gonna get charged.'”
Of the investigation, Sherwin stated:
[I want people to know that] we tried to move quickly to ensure that there is trust in the rule of law. You are gonna be charged based upon your conduct and your conduct only. Not what you may have posted about the election, not what you may have posted about different political views. The world looks to us for the rule of law and order and democracy. And that was shattered, I think, on that day. And we have to build ourselves up again. The only way to build ourselves up again is the equal application of the law, to show the rule of law is gonna treat these people fairly under the law.
Sherwin was asked by the Biden administration to stay through the transition. He officially stepped down from his post on March 3, allowing for a temporary replacement until newly-appointed Attorney General Merrick Garland selects a permanent nominee.