A GOP state senator on Friday asked his Facebook followers to donate to the legal defense fund of a family facing felony charges in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
State Sen. Mark Koran, R-North Branch, shared the link to an online fundraiser organized by Rosemarie Westbury, whose husband and son, Robert Westbury and Isaac Westbury, were charged earlier this month with several counts of civil disorder and assaulting a police officer with a deadly weapon, among other charges. Another family member, Jonah Westbury, was also charged in connection with the storming of the Capitol.
“Here's a local family in Lindstrom who can use some help," Koran wrote. “They attended the Jan 6th Rally and have been accused and charged with a variety of crimes. Some very serious and some which seem to be just to punish opposing views."
He added: “They are a good family!"
Koran did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment on his fundraising plea.
A spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, also did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment.
Koran's defense of the alleged Lindstrom rioters stands in stark contrast to Minnesota Republicans' frequent law-and-order message, as well as their condemnations of people who destroyed property during the demonstrations and rioting that followed the police murder of George Floyd in May 2020.
Koran was among Republicans who supported enhanced penalties for people charged with attempted murder of a police officer.
Koran, who ran unsuccessfully earlier this year for chair of the Minnesota Republican Party, has not dispelled false assertions that the 2020 election was fraudulent. Pressed by the Reformer last summer on whether President Joe Biden was duly elected, he said: “He's been inserted as the president."
Rosemarie Westbury wrote that her family “is being targeted by this illigitimate (sic), tyrannical government."
So far, she has raised $200 of her $50,000 goal. “We have an attorney who is willing to stand up for us, but this isn't going to be an inexpensive endeavor."
According to the charging documents, Isaac Westbury and Aaron James, another person charged in the case, used a police shield to “forcibly assault, resist, oppose, impede, intimidate and interfere" with an officer. They are also charged with carrying a dangerous weapon into the U.S. Capitol as they allegedly tried to “impede the orderly conduct of government business and official functions."
Robert Westbury faces misdemeanor charges of illegally and knowingly entering the Capitol and trying to disrupt government business and functions.
To date, eight Minnesotans have been charged in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
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