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Prosecutor: 'No Evidence of Plot' At DC Protest
By The Associated Press
PHOENIX - The prosecutor leading the investigation into the pro-Trump protesters that stormed the U.S. Capitol last week now says authorities have no direct evidence that they were plotting to assassinate or capture officials.

The comments from acting District of Columbia U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin on Friday come after prosecutors said in court papers filed in one  case that there was strong evidence that the "mob intended to capture and assassinate elected officials.”

Sherwin soon backed away from that claim, telling reporters that authorities have “no direct evidence at this point of kill, capture teams.”

The accusation came in a court filing by prosecutors late Thursday in Phoenix in the case against Jacob Chansley, the Arizona man who took part in the protest sporting face paint, no shirt and a furry hat with horns.

"Strong evidence, including Chansley's own words and actions at the Capitol, supports that the intent of the Capitol rioters was to capture and assassinate elected officials in the United States Government," a prosecutor wrote in a memo urging the judge to keep Chansley behind bars. But at a hearing for Chansley later in the day in Phoenix, another prosecutor, Todd Allison, struck the line from the memo.

Allison said prosecutors didn't want to mislead the court and don't have to rely on the stricken statement to argue that he should remain in jail. 

Sherwin said there appears to have been confusion among some prosecutors in part because of the complexity of the investigation and number of people involved.

Prosecutors raised a similar prospect Thursday in the case of a former Air Force officer Col. Larry Rendall Brock, Jr.  Brock was arrested Sunday in Texas after being photographed on the Senate floor wearing a helmet and vest and carrying plastic zip-ties.

"He means to kidnap, restrain, perhaps try, perhaps execute members of the U.S. government," Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Weimer said, without providing specifics.

Brock's attorney noted that he has only been charged with misdemeanors, and said there was no direct evidence of Brock breaking doors or windows to get into the Capitol, or doing anything violent once he was inside.

On Thursday, authorities also arrested a man from Utah who filmed the fatal shooting of the Trump supporter inside the Capitol. Police shot Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force veteran, as she was trying to climb through a broken window into the speaker's lobby.

John Sullivan, 26, a self-described journalist who filmed the shooting, told the AP earlier this week that he was only there to document the events at the U.S. Capitol and didn't attend the riot as a Trump supporter.

Published 10:58 AM, Saturday Jan. 16, 2021
Updated 03:25 PM, Sunday Jan. 17, 2021

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