Right-wing media helping rioters launder their reputations -- and raise cash along the way
A pro-Trump mob enters the U.S. Capitol Building on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C.. - Win McNamee/AFP North America/TNS

Right-wing websites are helping accused Capitol rioters launder their reputations ahead of their court appearances.

Kelly and Connie Meggs, for example, were presented by the Gateway Pundit blog as a sympathetic Florida couple in danger of losing their farm after an FBI raid that accidentally freed their donkeys, rather than members of the Oath Keepers militia who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 in a violent action aimed at overturning Donald Trump's election loss, reported The Daily Beast.

"During the arrest, the FBI let all of their donkeys lose (sic) in the neighborhood," wrote Gateway Pundit blogger Jim Hoft.

The donkeys were later returned, but Hoft directed readers to the Christian crowdfunding site GiveSendGo, which has found favor for right-wing individuals who might have been banned from mainstream fundraising sites.

The Meggs, for example, have raised more than $80,000 and fellow Oath Keeper Kenneth Harrelson's family has raised more than $160,000.

Other members of the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys militant groups have made similar efforts to portray themselves as innocent victims of government overreach -- rather than violent insurrectionists who tried to overthrow the government, as law enforcement claims -- and raise money along the way.

An attorney for the family of Ashili Babbitt, the Air Force veteran who was fatally shot by Capitol police during the riot, appeared on Fox News to tell viewers officers should have arrested her as she attempted to break into the Speaker's Lobby, as she was seen doing on video from the insurrection.

The Gateway Pundit -- which has pushed debunked claims about Antifa involvement in the riot and was banned from Twitter for spreading election misinformation -- has covered up evidence of rioters' involvement in right-wing extremist groups in write-ups of their arrests, instead presenting them as victims of rampaging law enforcement officers who trash their homes during raids.

"I was upset that my things were going to be tossed around everywhere and that they would make a huge mess," complained Angel Harrison, the wife of an Oath Keeper charged in the riot. "One of the worst lies being spread about them is that they are somehow 'white supremacists. That is insulting and ridiculous. I'm Cajun, and therefore my ancestors and family members are black as well as American Indian."