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Judge Suggests Jan. 6 Defendants Don't Deserve 'Serious Jail Time'

A federal judge criticized federal prosecutors for seeking jail time for some nonviolent Trump supporters in the Jan. 6 Capitol breach but not for left-wing activists who protested the 2018 Senate confirmation of Trump Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. “I know that the government believes that the January 6 cases are sui generis” — or one of a kind — “and therefore can’t be compared to other cases. But I don’t agree,” said U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, a 2017 Trump appointee, the Washington Post reports. He called the riots the latest in Washington’s history of high-profile and politically divisive mass demonstrations. “It does feel like the government has had two standards here, and I can’t abide by that,” McFadden said. The judge added that before Jan. 6, 2021, he could not remember seeing a nonviolent, first-time misdemeanant “sentenced to serious jail time … regardless of their race, gender or political affiliation.” McFadden spoke out last week in sentencing Capitol riot defendant Jenny Cudd, a 37-year-old florist and onetime Republican mayoral candidate from Midland, Tx., who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor trespassing. Prosecutors with the U.S. attorney’s office for Washington asked the judge to sentence Cudd to 75 days in jail and one year probation. Instead, he imposed two months’ probation and a $5,000 fine, contrasting her case with that of Tighe Barry, an activist with the liberal advocacy group Code Pink. The same prosecutor’s office in 2019 sought 10 days behind bars for Barry, who stood on a chair, held up a poster, and shouted at senators from the back row a Kavanaugh Senate Judiciary Committee hearings in 2018, and returned to protest three weeks later in violation of a stay-away order. “The government’s sentencing recommendation here is just so disproportionate to other sentences for people who have engaged in similar conduct,” said McFadden. Barry was a frequent demonstrator with 14 prior arrests.

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