Despite initial outrage from conservative elected officials in the aftermath of the deadly failed insurrection against the U.S. Capitol last year, many have since dismissed the violence of that day, promoted bizarre conspiracy theories to shirk accountability, or leapt to drum up public sympathy for those charged who are still in federal custody.
They've likened the riot to a "normal tourist visit." They've suggested the insurrection was a false flag orchestrated by U.S. intelligence officials. They've falsely claimed that rioters are being imprisoned without charges.
Some far-right members of Congress, such as Representatives Matt Gaetz of Florida and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, have railed against the continued imprisonment of rioters awaiting trial, referring to them as "political prisoners" who've been jailed because of their conservative beliefs.
Now, a judge overseeing one of these cases—U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth—rebuked these GOP Congressmembers in an addendum to a ruling that Capitol rioter Marshall Neefe would remain in custody until the conclusion of his trial.
Arguing for Neefe's continued detainment, prosecutors pointed to his use of the N-word in online messages and threats of violence against lawmakers, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, whom Neefe said deserved "a bullet in the head."
Lamberth pointed to these threats and similar threats made by others as a reason for the continued detainment despite GOP lawmakers' protests:
“Some members of the public and even a few members of Congress retain the impression that peaceful political protestors are being held in jail pending trial. Neefe’s detention disproves that delusion. Neefe is detained not because of his beliefs, but because of his alleged violent actions and his expressed intent to engage in violent activity again.”
Social media users sided with Lamberth.
Some forwarded the decision directly to the members of Congress Lamberth tacitly implicated.
It's doubtful the decision will result in a change of course for these Representatives.