The latest of the hundreds of people being prosecuted for participating in the Capitol Hill riot on January 6 of last year has been sentenced. Of course, as we will discuss below, Richard Michetti of Pennsylvania didn’t even participate in any of the activities that would normally qualify as “rioting,” and was instead guilty of trespassing. But in the process of doing that, he “yelled” at some of the Capitol Hill Police. Oh, and he “pinched the sleeve” of one officer briefly. For this, he was given a sentence of nine months in federal prison followed by two years of supervised release. (NBC News)
A Jan. 6 rioter turned in by his ex after he called her a “moron” because she didn’t believe Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election was sentenced to nine months in federal prison on Tuesday.
Richard Michetti of Pennsylvania pleaded guilty to a felony count of obstruction of an official proceeding back in May. He admitted that he went inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and yelled “we feed your family,” “you are just taking orders,” and “we pay you” at officers, that he “gesticulated at the officers and at one point briefly pinched the sleeve of one officer,” and also told officers they were “starting a civil war.”
Michetti was arrested in February after his ex-girlfriend gave his name to the FBI.
The court noted that Michetti “confronted” Capitol Hill Police officers and “gesticulated” at them. He yelled some things about the election being stolen and how Joe Biden’s election should not be certified. At one point he reportedly “briefly pinched the sleeve” of one of the officers.
Michetti was not accused of breaking the doors or windows of the building, nor was he accused of assaulting any of the officers. (Unless you want to make the case that “briefly pinching” someone’s sleeve is an “assault.”) He entered the building after the actual rioters broke in and walked around in the Old Senate Chamber hallway. He managed to get hit with pepper spray by the officers twice in the process, presumably for “yelling” and “gesticulating” in their vicinity.
The defendant’s participation in the riot was so lacking in notable activity that law enforcement seemed to be completely unaware that he’d been there. That changed when his girlfriend became angry after he called her a “moron” during a text exchange and she dropped a dime on him. That led to a single charge of “obstruction of an official proceeding” against him. They somehow convinced him to plead guilty to that charge in May.
Yet again, Richard Michetti was guilty of trespassing on the property of the Capitol Building, but that’s about it. And he was given more time in federal prison than the average carjacker in Chicago. Stephen Colbert’s film crew broke the very same law as Michetti and they were all released without bail and were never charged. If Marchetti had performed the exact same actions in any other location, he would have been let off with a warning at most.
Just yesterday I wrote about the perils of allowing the American public to lose faith in our public institutions, including law enforcement and the courts. But why would anyone paying attention to these trials not have their faith in the courts shaken? These proceedings represent an ongoing abuse of the court system to exact vengeance on political opponents of the current administration while ignoring the far more serious crimes of people from favored political and demographic groups. Anyone who can in any way be pointed to as being associated with or supportive of Donald Trump has a target on their back. And federal prosecutors and judges assigned to handle these cases are playing along with that dangerous game without remorse.