US Attorney Nolan would prosecute Capitol riot planning if any committed in Vermont

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 8, 2021

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Vermont

This statement is issued in response to inquiries received over the last two days from the press and the public regarding the violence in Washington D.C. and whether our office will investigate and prosecute perpetrators.

The storming of the Capitol was a reprehensible act that marked a dark, tragic, and appalling moment in the history of the country. It placed many in great danger and we grieve for those who suffered.  We mourn the indelible wound to the psyche of the nation. We denounce the violence in the strongest terms.

U.S. Department of Justice

Christina Nolan, U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont

Peaceful protest and freedom of assembly are vital American rights and traditions that we should all support and defend no matter the viewpoint espoused. But when peaceful protest devolves into violence, the conduct should be roundly condemned and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Some in Vermont have asked where potential prosecutions should occur. The Constitution provides that a criminal defendant has a right to a trial in a venue where the crime occurred.

The fact that a person resides in a particular state does not, in itself, mean that the state’s state or federal courts are proper venues for the prosecution of that individual. Instead, generally speaking, to have venue in a jurisdiction, there must be sufficient evidence that some part of the criminal offense occurred in that jurisdiction. Thus, speaking hypothetically, if a citizen of Vermont traveled to Washington D.C. for the sole purpose of participating in a peaceful protest (legal conduct), but during that protest spontaneously decided to commit a crime against the United States, or other unlawful acts, that crime would be prosecutable in courts in the District of Columbia, not in Vermont. But in a situation where a part of the illegal activity occurred in Vermont or otherwise had a connection to Vermont — such as an individual conspiring in Vermont to commit a federal crime in Washington D.C. (for example, destruction of federal property, arson, or assault on a federal officer) and then traveling to D.C. and committing that crime — then there would be venue in federal court in Vermont, assuming we had all the necessary evidence to charge.  (Importantly, this is not the only fact pattern under which we would have venue in Vermont, merely one illustrative example.)

As always, our office would need to carefully consider any evidence assembled by law enforcement before initiating a prosecution. Finally, in providing this explanation, our office is not suggesting that we have any actual, current information about crimes prosecutable in Vermont.  We do not confirm or deny the existence of investigations.

We hope for, and support, the prosecution of those who committed violence and desecration against our American government buildings, institutions, proceedings, and people. We must all do our part to defend the rule of law. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Vermont remains committed as ever to prioritizing prosecution of violent crime and pursuing cases of national import where we have venue and proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Images courtesy of Steve Bellows and U.S. Department of Justice

8 thoughts on “US Attorney Nolan would prosecute Capitol riot planning if any committed in Vermont

    • Are you referencing the same Ed Snowden who first exposed The Deep State intelligence agencies who they then forced to flee the country on a airliner in fear for his life and then threatened several sovereign nation with retaliation if the permitted the airliner to land which forced aircraft into a situation of running out of fuel and crashing and was only saved by the Russian government (much to their delight)! Then they of course rushed to the media and claimed he had deserted to Russia. That Ed Snowden?

  1. I doubt that anyone going from Vermont “conspired” to do anything but protest. Will protesting now be a crime unless this is done by those on the left?

    • Protesting may be a crime, if deemed to support or otherwise incite those joining in the protest to break the law. Nolan’s remarks are so broad in its legal scope as to be uneforceable… in a typical judicial setting. But this is anything but a typical judicial setting.

  2. Caution:
    This assessment was published yesterday by Vermont’s US Attorney, Christina E. Nolan, regarding the ‘storming of the Capitol’ Wednesday last, and the participation of Vermonters in the protest.

    “…in a situation where a part of the illegal activity occurred in Vermont or otherwise had a connection to Vermont – such as an individual conspiring in Vermont to commit a federal crime in Washington D.C. (for example, destruction of federal property, arson, or assault on a federal officer) and then traveling to D.C. and committing that crime – then there would be venue in federal court in Vermont, assuming we had all the necessary evidence to charge.”

    https://vermontbiz.com/news/2021/january/08/vermont-us-attorney-statement-regarding-storming-capitol-and-venue-prosecution

    While I understand the indignation and urge inherent in Vermont’s conservative movement against tyranny, not to mention the patriotic impulse to stand up in front of this oppression – as you might remember the young man standing in defiance in front of no fewer than four tanks in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests against the Chinese Communist Party – please think twice. We are now at a major disadvantage in this struggle. No matter how well-meaning we are, no matter how peaceful we are, playing into this tyranny’s strength will serve only to strengthen the tyranny.

    The last bastion of the three pillars of our Constitutional Republic, the judiciary, is now corrupt as well. Not only is due process and equal protection extinct, the courts (as witnessed above) will stop at nothing to define all of us, peaceful as we may be, as a seditious insurrection, while allowing special interest groups, the media and other malicious operatives who support them (you know who they are), to do their bidding.

    Not only may you lose your jobs, you may be prosecuted, fined, even go to jail. Don’t give them the excuse to do this to you. Simply airing a carelessly worded opinion, at this point in time, can be interpreted, as US Attorney Nolan articulated, as “where a part of the illegal activity occurred in Vermont or otherwise had a connection to Vermont – such as an individual conspiring in Vermont to commit a federal crime”. Clearly, this opinion allows for broad legal over-reach.

    Our Constitutional Republic has been circumvented by a Direct Democracy. It is, indeed, like two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. We’re on the menu. Be smart. Be careful. Stay safe. This is not over.

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