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Judge tells Capitol rioter: 'You've disgraced this country in the eyes of the world'

Judge Reggie B. Walton criticized defendant Anthony Mariotto for participating in an "attack on our government."

Judge tells Capitol rioter: 'You've disgraced this country in the eyes of the world'
Image Source: Trump Supporters Hold "Stop The Steal" Rally In DC Amid Ratification Of Presidential Election. WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

At a hearing on Friday regarding the United States Capitol riots which took place on January 6 this year, a federal judge passed scathing remarks at a rioter as he decided to plead guilty. Judge Reggie B. Walton criticized defendant Anthony Mariotto for participating in an "attack on our government" and warned him to stay on the "straight and narrow." Moments before, Mariotto plead guilty to one misdemeanor charge of illegally demonstrating in the Capitol building. Walton is one of many judges to describe the riot as "an existential danger to American democracy," CNN reports. Like Mariotto, 77 people have pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the Capitol riot so far.


"You've disgraced this country in the eyes of the world, and my inclination is to lock you up," stated Judge Walton. "I found it outrageous that American citizens would do what you did. To see someone destroy, or try to destroy, the Capitol is very troubling to me." According to Waldon, the Capitol riots would be greatly detrimental to his ability to teach "about the greatness of America abroad." Walton has been outspoken in his disdain for the events of January 6 but is only one in a chorus of judges. He shouted during the hearing on Friday, "America was not great on that day. And I'm sure when I go to other jurisdictions to say how they can be like America, they'll say, 'Why should I want to be like America when you are all trying to tear down your own country?'"


Just last month, another federal judge called the riot an attempt "to subvert democracy, to stop the will of the people and replace it with the will of the mob." In this context, a growing number of judges have been critical of the Justice Department's decision to not send some defendants to jail. This is especially true given the gravity and violence of the attack. Other judges, including the chief judge of the DC District Courthouse, have also questioned how National Guard troops and fencing around the Capitol building could be seen from the courthouse windows. Since the riots first took place, judges have presided over more than 600 Capitol riot criminal cases. They will ultimately either usher defendants through jury trials or accept guilty pleas and handle sentencing. In these cases, the judges have broad authority to sentence as per their wishes. At present, only a handful of defendants who have pleaded guilty to misdemeanors, and those who have no criminal history, have gotten years on probation.


Mariotto, 53, admitted to being one of the few rioters who entered the Senate chamber on January 6. He may face a potential maximum sentence of six months in jail like many other rioters who have chosen to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of illegally demonstrating in the Capitol building. It is likely that the rioters will face less than the maximum sentence. They could even receive probation and avoid incarceration. Out of the more than 615 people the Justice Department has charged in the aftermath of the attack, 77 have so far pleaded guilty to charges related to the riot.


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