by Julie Kelly
After months of foot-dragging, Joe Biden’s Justice Department is preparing for the first set of trials related to its sprawling prosecution of January 6 defendants: Robert Gieswein, who turned himself in and was arrested on January 19 for his involvement in the Capitol protest, is scheduled to stand trial in February.
A week after his arrest, Gieswein, 24 at the time, was indicted by a federal grand jury on six counts including “assaulting, resisting, or impeding” law enforcement with a dangerous weapon that day. He has been behind bars ever since, denied bail while Judge Emmet Sullivan delayed his trial on numerous occasions. Gieswein is among 40 or so January 6 defendants held in a part of the D.C. jail system solely used to detain Capitol protesters.
Federal prosecutors accuse Gieswein of using a chemical spray against police officers and carrying a baseball bat. Clad in military-style gear, Gieswein climbed through a broken window shortly after the first breach of the building. He told a reporter on the scene that “the corrupt politicians who have been in office for 50 or 60 years . . . need to be imprisoned.” Democratic politicians, Gieswein complained, sold out the country to “the Rothchilds and the Rockefellers,” a remark the FBI investigator on his case described as an “anti-Semitic” conspiracy theory.
Ahead of Gieswein’s trial, the Justice Department asked Judge Sullivan to strictly curtail how Gieswein can defend himself. A motion filed earlier this month argued Gieswein should not use self-defense against law enforcement as a reason for his actions on January 6. (Prosecutors also stated that Gieswein should not blame President Trump for his alleged criminal behavior, claiming it is “objectively unreasonable to conclude that President Trump could authorize citizens to interfere with the Electoral College proceedings,” a legal torpedo to the Democrats’ nonstop accusations that Trump “incited” the events of January 6.)
“[The] Defendant will not be able to put forth any evidence that he had a reasonable belief that his actions were necessary to defend himself against the immediate use of unlawful force,” Matthew Graves, the new U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, wrote in the December 1 filing. “Through his words and actions, the Defendant made plain his intent. The Court should exclude any testimony and evidence purporting to assert a claim of self-defense.”
Preventing Gieswein from telling a jury exactly what happened on January 6 is the Justice Department’s latest attempt to cover up pervasive police misconduct. Gieswein’s alleged offenses coincided with the time frame when Capitol and D.C. Metropolitan Police officers started attacking thousands of protesters assembled outside the building on January 6.
Law enforcement deployed explosive devices known as “flashbangs,” which emit a powerful burst of light and sound to temporarily stun the intended victim, into the crowd around 1:15 p.m. on January 6, just moments after Trump finished up his speech at the Ellipse less than two miles away. Police also used rubber bullets, tear gas, batons, and in some cases, their own fists to assault protesters.
Prosecutors know this is fact—and it’s precisely why the Justice Department is desperate to keep any video footage or testimony that portrays these vicious assaults out of the public eye. As I have reported, the Justice Department and U.S. Capitol Police want roughly 14,000 hours of surveillance video captured by security cameras on January 6 to remain under protective orders. The trove is considered “highly sensitive” government material by Biden’s Justice Department; even defendants are strictly limited as to how they can view this classified footage used as evidence against them.
Much of it would show a sustained attack on peaceful Americans by D.C.-based law enforcement agencies. But as trials get underway and long-delayed discovery is finally produced by the government, more evidence of egregious, in several cases, criminal, police misconduct, is emerging.
Some cases will pit cop against cop. Thomas Webster, a retired 20-year veteran of the New York City Police Department and decorated Marine charged with assaulting law enforcement on January 6, recently notified the court he will claim self-defense against excessive force in his April trial.
Cherry-picked video released to the media by the Justice Department several months ago shows Webster screaming at a line of police officers around 2:30 p.m. on January 6. “You fucking piece of shit,” Webster can be heard saying to an unidentified officer. “You fucking commie motherfuckers, man. You wanna attack Americans? No, fuck that.”
Now, what would compel a longtime cop to angrily confront his own brothers in blue? Here’s how Webster’s attorney described the scene in a June motion:
For the ten minutes prior to encountering the defendant, Officer N.R. can be seen reaching over the metal barrier and pushing a female protester holding a flag to the ground on two separate occasions. The protesters . . . were by and large peaceful. It was only after tear gas and pepper spray were deployed by police upon this group of peaceful protesters that the crowds changed. Officer N.R. [the cop Webster allegedly assaulted] was equipped with a helmet, a shield, a gas mask, and a full complement of body armor. [P]rotesters—who did not attend the protest with a mask or face shield—are observed suffering the effects of being gassed and pepper sprayed by police. Officer N.R. can also be observed mocking several protesters who were complaining about this Officer’s excessive use of force. The video depicts this officer reaching beyond the metal barriers and pushing Webster on the chest. It is at this point that Officer N.R. again reaches over the metal barricade and punches Webster on the left side of his face.
Webster’s attorney will use 12 minutes of the D.C. police officer’s body-worn camera footage recorded before the confrontation to show his “repeated use of excessive force.”
And it isn’t just testimony and video the Justice Department wants to hide from both defendants and the American people. Prosecutors want the names of police officers allegedly attacked by Capitol protesters to remain anonymous. In the case of Victoria White, the female Trump supporter brutally beaten by two D.C. police officers on January 6—I told the story of her terrifying experience in two articles last week—the Justice Department claims the cops, not those assaulted by police, are the victims.
As these officers now, or in the future may, qualify as victims under the Crime Victims Rights Act, they have the ‘right to be reasonably protected from the accused’ and the ‘right to be treated with fairness and with respect of the victim’s dignity and privacy.’
This absurd caveat, by the way, is contained in the same motion that disclosed several defense attorneys have requested “use-of-force investigation files” of D.C. Metropolitan police officers. (Important to note that three D.C. Metropolitan police officers reportedly have committed suicide since January 6.)
Ponder for a moment how that tactic would be immediately denounced on any other occasion of excessive force against political protesters. But since Trump and his supporters are considered subhuman by the Biden regime, Democrats, plenty of Republican lawmakers, and the national news media, the usual rules don’t apply.
Meanwhile, a federal judge will soon rule on a motion filed by a January 6 defense attorney—subsequently supported by a group of 16 major news organizations—to remove the government’s protective order on three hours of surveillance video from the lower west terrace tunnel. It was the location of fierce fighting between police and protesters and the spot where Rosanne Boyland, a Trump supporter from Georgia, died. Prosecutors are expected to oppose its release.
As the January 6 House select committee accelerates its illegitimate legal pursuit of Trump and his associates under the guise of revealing the “truth” about the Capitol protest, the Justice Department is actively concealing the truth, especially related to police brutality that day. The only question now is whether federal judges in Washington will continue to allow the Biden regime to get away with it.
– – –
Julie Kelly is a political commentator and senior contributor to American Greatness. She is the author of Disloyal Opposition: How the NeverTrump Right Tried―And Failed―To Take Down the President. Her past work can be found at The Federalist and National Review. She also has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, and Genetic Literacy Project. She is the co-host of ‘Happy Hour podcast with Julie and Liz.’ She is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University and lives in suburban Chicago with her husband and two daughters.