Of the first 35 individuals sentenced in connection with the January 6 insurrection, no fewer than 21 have received probation and another nine have come away with slap-on-the-wrist jail sentences of 90 days or less.
A Raw Story analysis of sentencing information posted by the Department of Justice shows an astounding pattern of light punishment for the defendants, all of whom were allowed to plead guilty to offenses far less serious than the crimes for which they were charged. Here's a summary of what the insurrectionists were given:
* 13 received only probation and fines;
* Eight received probation that included house arrest of no more than 90 days;
* Nine received jail sentences of 60 days or less;
* The remaining five sentences were for three, six, eight, 14 and 41 months.
The soft sentencing belied previous promises from authorities to crack down heavily on the rioters. Arguably it could even be worse, as some judges have complained openly about light sentencing recommendations from DOJ, an uncommon development to say the least.
Tellingly, the DOJ website did not include news releases regarding 34 of the 35 sentencing decisions. The department has publicized only one of them: the 41-month sentence to Scott Kevin Fairlamb of New Jersey, who admitted to assaulting police officers during the riot.
For context, Fairlamb had been denied bail by a federal judge because of his "history of punching people in the face."
Here's some of what Fairlamb did on January 6, as reported by the DOJ news release:
"According to his plea, Fairlamb followed a large crowd that, moments earlier, had forcibly pushed through a line of police officers and metal barricades. He obtained a collapsible police baton from the ground and posted a video to Facebook displaying the baton. In the video he said, "What Patriots do? We f****** disarm them and then we storm the f****** Capitol." He carried the police baton when he illegally entered the building and walked past broken glass of a shattered window. Once he exited, Fairlamb inserted himself into a line of MPD officers where he, unprovoked, shoved and punched an officer."
For further context, the same DOJ news-release list shows that, as recently as October 22, the feds obtained an eight-year sentence for "Eleanor R. Milligan, 61, a longtime payroll administrator from Laurel, Md. for carrying out a scheme in which she embezzled more than $1.6 million from her former employer."
Ms. Milligan apparently would have done better to limit her criminal activities to participating an insurrection against American democracy.
The only other sentence of more than eight months was handed down to Troy Anthony Smocks of Texas, who had traveled to D.C. on January 5, but who was charged for social-media posts threatening specific violence against officials:
"Today Eric Trump said that he would physically tight with the Patriots to save Our country. Today Rep. Mo Brooks asked the Patriots to pledge Our lives and wealth to fight for Our country. And today President Trump told us "to fight like hell.' He said that Our cause was a matter of national security and that these people behind the massive fraud must be arrested and brought to justice. And that task falls on the shoulders of We the People…the American Patriots.
"So over the next 24 hours, I would say, let's get our personal affairs in order. Prepare Our Weapons and then go hunting. Let's hunt these cowards down like the Traitors that each of them are. This includes RINOS, Dems and Tech Execs. We now have the green light. All who resist Us are enemies of Our Constitution and must be treated as such.
"Today the cowards ran as We took the Capital. They have it back now, only because We left. It wasn't the building We wanted…it was them!"
Smocks' 14-month sentence -- not publicized in a DOJ news release -- was barely more than half the 27 months that Isabelle Garcia, 56, received for defrauding the George Town Club out of more than $300,000 as its comptroller.
There had been debate within the FBI and DOJ since shortly after the Capitol riot about how harsh the sentencing should be for perpetrators of an insurrection. But there was no suggestion that mere probation would be awaiting some 70 percent of the estimated 800 people who breached the Capitol on January 6.
MSNCB's Joe Scarborough criticized the very notion of light sentencing for the rioters last month. "If you look at conspiracy of U.S. sedition in the U.S. code, that's what they are doing. I'm not sure why all of these people going before the courts that were doing these things are not getting the full 20 years in prison."
And Scarborough was speaking before most of the first 35 sentences had been handed down. The full overview shows that most of the offenders didn't even receive 20 full days in prison.