DOJ Tells Court It is Still Reviewing Potentially Exculpatory Evidence in Capitol Riot Cases

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 16: The U.S. Capitol is seen behind a fence with razor wire during sunrise on January 16, 2021 in Washington, DC. After last week's riots at the U.S. Capitol Building, the FBI has warned of additional threats in the nation's capital and in all 50 states. …
Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Channing D. Phillips told a federal court Monday that the U.S. Department of Justice is still processing massive amounts of potentially exculpatory evidence in the Capitol riot.

Phillips filed a motion to ask the court for a 60-day delay in the trial of Cowboys for Trump founder Couy Griffin, who is being charged with “Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building” and “Disorderly and Disruptive Conduct in a Restricted Building,” though the government admits there is no evidence Griffin entered the U.S. Capitol itself, but rather spoke from a restricted area on the building’s exterior.

Griffin, who was detained for several days but released on his own recognizance in February, has demanded that the DOJ turn over all potentially exculpatory evidence, in accord with the doctrine laid down in Brady v. Maryland (1963).

The DOJ erroneously told the court that it would have all of the exculpatory evidence prepared by June, but told the court Monday that it had only begun transferring government data in June to outside analysts from Deloitte Financial Advisory Services, LLP, which won the contract to organize all of the video and other data collected on the riot.

Phillips told the court (emphasis added):

For all the reasons described above, despite our diligent efforts, we are not currently in a position to identify all information that may be material to the defense in this case. We do not know the theory of defense, and to the extent that we can surmise what it might be, relevant evidence may be interspersed among voluminous data that we cannot possibly review in its entirety. Further, we are not in a position to turn over the universe of information we possess for Defendant to review. Although we are aware that we possess some information that the defense may view as supportive of arguments that law enforcement authorized defendants (including Defendant) to enter the restricted grounds, e.g., images of officers hugging or fist-bumping rioters, posing for photos with rioters, and moving bike racks, we are not in a position to state whether we have identified all such information. Pursuant to Brady and its progeny, we are required to make available the voluminous data that may contain any similar information for Defendant to review.

He emphasized that “contrary to Defendant’s assertions that delay is being contrived by the United States as part of a strategy to determine which cases are tried first (which is untrue), or because the United States purportedly lacks the resources to try such cases (which it does not), the entire basis for the continuance being sought here is to honor Defendant’s constitutional rights.”

Separately, the Associated Press reported that the DOJ revealed in court Monday that it had offered Griffin a plea deal.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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