Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Citing His First Amendment-Protected Speech, DOJ Seeks Prison Time for Infowars Host

'The First Amendment is no bar to the Court’s consideration of Shroyer’s words...'

(Ken Silva, Headline USA) U.S. prosecutors are seeking to imprison Infowars host Owen Shroyer for 120 days over his actions related to Jan. 6, 2021—claiming that even though Shroyer was non-violent and didn’t enter the Capitol that day, his words incited others to do so.

Shroyer was initially charged in August 2021 with disorderly conduct and entering a restricted area of Capitol grounds. He entered a deal with the Justice Department in June to plead guilty to the trespass charge.

On Tuesday, prosecutors argued that the misdemeanor charge should result in jail time for Shroyer.

Even though prosecutors didn’t present evidence that Shroyer explicitly told protestors to enter the Capitol—unlike J6 provocateur Ray Epps, who has yet to be charged—his words lathered up the crowd into a frenzy, the DOJ argued.

“The events of January 6th did not happen in a bubble; individuals like Shroyer stoked the fires of discontent with the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election online, driving a mob of individuals to descend on Washington, D.C. on January 6th,” argued Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Paschall.

“Shroyer cannot light a fire near a can of gasoline, and then express concern or disbelief when it explodes.”

Paschall also argued cited Supreme Court precedent that allows judges to factor First Amendment-protected activity when calculating sentences.

“The First Amendment is no bar to the Court’s consideration of Shroyer’s words and actions at sentencing,” the prosecutor argued.

“Consistent with this principle, the Supreme Court has held that ‘the Constitution does not erect a per se barrier to the admission of evidence concerning one’s beliefs and associations at sentencing simply because those beliefs and associations are protected by the First Amendment.’”

Shroyer was previously arrested in December 2019 for shouting during a House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing.

He received a deferred prosecution agreement in that case, in which he agreed to do community service and follow certain conditions, like not engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct on Capitol grounds, according to court documents.

He hadn’t completed any of the required community service hours as of Jan. 6, so that agreement was still in effect, authorities said.

Shroyer is the second person who works for Infowars to face federal charges stemming from Jan. 6. Samuel Montoya, an Infowars video editor, was arrested in April on charges including impeding passage through the Capitol grounds.

Montoya spoke on an Infowars show about witnessing a police officer shoot and kill Ashli Babbitt inside the Capitol.

Shroyer is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 12.

Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.

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