A New York man who filmed himself smoking in a senator’s office after breaking into the Capitol building on January 6 will spend 90 days behind bars.
James Bonet30 years old, pleaded guilty in October to entering and staying inside the U.S. Capitol, a misdemeanor that carries a potential one-year prison sentence.
He admitted that he joined the crowd of Donald Trump Supporters stormed the Capitol as Congress tried to certify Joe Biden’s win the 2020 presidential election.
Once inside the building, Bonet went to Sen’s office. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), where he recorded himself smoking a cigarette. He posted that video on Facebook with the caption “Smoking in the capital [sic] Building.”
Senior Judge of the United States Emmet Sullivan’s sentence beyond 45 days at the request of prosecutors. Bonet asked only for a probationary sentence.
In addition to three months in prison, Bonet will serve a year of supervised release. Sullivan required Bonet to complete 200 hours of community service during that time, or face a re-jail time.
“No reasonable person would do that”
At Wednesday’s hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexis Loeb said Bonet wasn’t “just some idiot” at the Capitol on January 6.
“Smoking and filming himself while members of Congress and their staff have been evacuated and are in hiding, shows a certain callousness. “[It’s] more than ruthless. It was a show of strength. Say “we have taken control here”… “I can go into a senator’s private space and can light up a business and can broadcast it so people can see what’s going on. what I’m doing.” ”
Loeb also drew Sullivan’s attention to a interview Bonet gave it to a local TV station in January, a year after the siege. In that interview, Bonet said his time in the Capitol was “my peaceful protest,” and repeated discredit request that the police just let him and the others into the building.
According to that interview, Bonet remained skeptical about the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election, despite the fact that No common voter fraud was found.
Sullivan asked Loeb why the government didn’t change the sentencing requirement after discovering Bonet’s interview.
“Our recommendation is primarily based on the severity of the offence,” Loeb said, adding that the government had cast doubt on Bonet’s expressions of remorse. Loeb has said that the interview gave a “compelling” reason for why detention was warranted.
Sullivan, a Bill Clinton appointee, said he was “considered” by Bonet’s comments in the interview and that the government “should have had its right” to ask for more time behind bars.
“No reasonable person could do that,” added Sullivan.
Bonet’s attorney, Lisa Peeblessays her client shouldn’t be punished because the “flat effect” in his voice gives the impression that he has no regrets.
Despite Peebles’ insistence that Bonet regretted his actions, Sullivan doesn’t believe it.
“Actions speak louder than words,” says Sullivan. “I will review his behavior on that date and into January 2022.”
Sullivan seemed particularly irritated by Bonet’s post-confessional television interview.
“His conduct on January 6, along with his comments a year later, after he has had a year to reflect on his conduct, convince the Court that he is not really take responsibility,” said Sullivan.
Noting that Bonet is currently in school, Sullivan said he doesn’t have to report to jail before June 1 to be able to complete his current semester.
“A lot of these deals are deals for lovers”
Before coming to the sentencing portion of the hearing, Sullivan questioned whether the dozens of misdemeanor pleas between the defendants on January 6 were sending the wrong message.
“What would you say, attorney, to those who say that a plea to Mr. Bonet is another form of a love agreement?” Sullivan asked Loeb. “[He] could have been charged more seriously for the anti-American behavior that occurred on January 6th.”
Loeb said that Bonet, like the other defendants on January 6, was charged with obstruction of a felony, potentially 20 years in prison (however, in reality, no one found guilty faced a severe sentence).
In what may be a reference to the GOP’s statements about the so-called “persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse” and “normal tourist visit[s],“Sullivan wondered if prosecutors had answers for those – including members of the court – who had expressed concerns about the defendant being punished too lightly on January 6.
The judge said he did not ask for details on how the government made the decision to prosecute, but noted that “there are opponents in the court and among the public who say that a lot of these transactions are private transactions.” lover.”
Sullivan’s concerns echo those of two other DC judges who made similar statements at sentencing. In February, the Chief Justice of the District of the United States Beryl Howell ask harsh questions prosecutors for the decision to pursue misdemeanor marches, demonstrations or picnics in the Capitol for riot participants, and the subsequent authorization of pleas for that charge, saying it was like a “ticket” given to those who disrupted meetings .
United States District Judge Amy Berman Jackson also speak that it “needs to be clear” that the January 6 attack on the Capitol “is not legitimate discourse.”
Based on DOJ sentencing information, over January 60, 6 defendants pleaded guilty to charges of marching and having a picnic. Some were sentenced to up to six months by statute, while others were sentenced to probation only.
[Images via FBI court filings.]
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https://lawandcrime.com/u-s-capitol-breach/federal-judge-questions-prosecutor-about-sweetheart-plea-deals-before-sentencing-man-who-lit-up-a-joint-inside-capitol-on-jan-6/ James Bonet, January 6th Smoker, Gets Months Behind Bars