Federal judges increasingly are sentencing people who participated in the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the Capitol to three-year terms of court supervision, fearing they could be misled into committing political violence in the 2024 presidential election, the Washington Post reports. A former North Carolina truck driver on Monday became the first Jan. 6 defendant to receive a combination of a 60-day jail term and 36 months of probation. James “Les” Little, 52, pleaded guilty after telling the FBI that he saw President Biden’s election victory as “the second Bolshevik revolution” and warned of civil war if it were not overturned. “I’m not proposing this, but I think to secure our freedoms, we’re on the brink of civil war,” Little told FBI agents who interviewed him a week after the attack on the Capitol.
U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth in Washington, D.C., said Little’s explanations for his actions on Jan. 6 carried the seeds of a future threat. “The Court must not only punish Little for his conduct but also ensure that he will not engage in similar conduct again during the next election,” Lamberth wrote. “Only a longer-term period of probation is adequate to ensure that Little will not become an active participant in another riot.” Lamberth is among a growing number of judges who warn that the damage to democracy from last year’s assault is persisting as Trump continues to urge Republican officials to embrace his false election fraud charges. Judges have also raised concerns about elected officials who play down the violence of an attack that injured scores of police officers, ransacked lawmakers’ offices, caused more than $1.5 million in damage and disrupted a joint session of Congress. “Many politicians are writing a false narrative about what happened. I think they are misleading people … I am terribly afraid that people are going to follow that false narrative,” U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan said in sentencing a 25-year-old Utah man to three years’ supervision.