Defense lawyers of the charged participants of Jan. 6 riot at the US Capitol believe that some of the hundreds of trials will extend into the 2024 presidential election although a few are expected to start in the coming months.
A Justice Department official underscored in a statement to CBS News that none of the defendants in the attack have yet gone on trial although it’s been more than a year since the US Capitol attack.
Hundreds of Jan. 6 defendants awaiting trial dates are also waiting for the re-opening of the Washington, D.C. federal court, where these attack cases are being prosecuted, and are frustrated by the delay and the progress.
According to a DOJ official, only five of the January 6 defendants are expected to go on trial before April.
One defense lawyer, who’s handling the cases of Jim and Casey Cusick, of Melbourne, Florida who have pleaded not guilty and are free from custody, pending trials, believes their cases aren’t likely to close until at least 2023.
He also expects some of the approximately 730 cases to remain open through the next presidential election in November 2024 considering the unique and profound logistical problems the DOJ is navigating with its Jan. 6 cases.
Though most hearings are occurring virtual – through Zoom and phone connections – trials must occur in person inside the courthouse, and, due to COVID risks, the D.C. federal courthouse, which is a short walk from the US Capitol, remains closed to jury trials through at least February 7.
On top of that, DOJ is facing an unprecedented avalanche of evidence to deal with since the US Capitol riot prosecution, one of the largest criminal cases in US history, is saturated with more than 200,000 tips from the public and possible evidence in over 14,000 hours of Capitol surveillance video and 250 terabytes of data from social media posts, phone videos, and witness interviews.