On Friday, CBS News' Scott MacFarlane, the foremost authority covering the January 6 trials, reported that judges are growing increasingly exasperated as they demand some degree of remorse from the defendants who attacked the U.S. Capitol — and they are refusing to offer it.
"How many times do you remember your parents saying, 'How many times do I have to tell you? How many times do I have to remind you?'" said MacFarlane. "[They're] trying to give good advice. [You] just don't listen. This is what today was about in court. Judges trying to make emphatic now to this next set of Capitol riot defendants that the best course of action is to show some remorse. Show some genuine remorse."
MacFarlane laid out the courtroom events of the day involving the sentencing of Blas Santillan, a Georgia man who Snapchatted his entry into the Capitol with the violent crowd and boasted, "I got a chair, pole, and a book."
"The judge read a letter Santillan had submitted seeking leniency and said, doesn't seem to show a lot of remorse, you don't seem to be saying what you're remorseful for," said MacFarlane. "And so she pressed Santillan. What do you think about January 6? What do you think about what happened? What do you think about this case? And Santillan repeated each time, that everybody lost. Everybody was a loser because of January 6. And the judge counterpunched, saying, I'm giving you a chance to show remorse, how many times do I have to ask you, and you're not doing so."
Another case involved Cory Ray Brannan, a former county correctional officer from Texas and member of the far-right paramilitary group the Three Percenters, who pleaded guilty to multiple misdemeanors after entering the Capitol with goggles and a tactical vest. "One of the things the judge mentioned was that, quote, 'I have yet to hear from a January 6 defendant that they recognize the humanity of the people at the Capitol who were trying to do their jobs that day,'" said MacFarlane. "Cory Ray Brannan didn't show enough remorse to spare himself from prison."
"And then there was the case of Stephen Ayres yesterday, he's the defendant who testified at the January 6 Select Committee hearing earlier this year," said MacFarlane. "He showed enough remorse. The judge spared Ayres from prison, crediting Ayres with testifying at the committee. Showing that was a demonstration of remorse. He has been spared prison. For the judges in an increasing number of cases, they're wondering how many times they have to say it."