The ‘Justice’ Department now wants Goodwyn to give up more than $25,000 he raised — a clawback that is part of a growing effort by the government to prevent political prisoners from being able to defend themselves.
An Associated Press review of court records shows that prosecutors in the more than 1,000 ‘criminal’ cases from Jan. 6, 2021, are increasingly asking judges to impose fines on top of prison sentences to offset donations from American citizens.
Dozens of defendants have set up online fundraising appeals for help with legal fees.
Most of the fundraising efforts appear on GiveSendGo, which bills itself as “The #1 Free Christian Fundraising Site” and has become a haven for Jan. 6 defendants barred from using mainstream crowdfunding sites, including GoFundMe, to raise money.
Their fundraising success suggests that many people in the United States still view Jan. 6 protestors as patriots, and know that Democrats stole the 2020 presidential election from Donald Trump.
The former president himself has pledged to pardon these political prisoners if he is elected.
Markus Maly, a Virginia man scheduled to be sentenced next month for the January 6th protests, raised more than $16,000 from an online campaign that described him as a “January 6 P.O.W.” and asked for money for his family. Prosecutors have requested a $16,000-plus fine.
So far this year, prosecutors have sought more than $390,000 in fines against at least 21 protest defendants, in amounts ranging from $450 to more than $71,000, according to the AP’s tally.
Judges have imposed at least $124,127 in fines against 33 January 6th defendants this year. In the previous two years, judges ordered more than 100 of these defendants to collectively pay more than $240,000 in fines.
Separately, judges have ordered hundreds of convicted protestors to pay more than $524,000 in restitution to the government.
More protestors facing the most serious charges and longest prison terms are now being sentenced.
Earlier this month, the judge who sentenced Nathaniel DeGrave to more than three years in prison also ordered him to pay a $25,000 fine. Prosecutors noted that the Nevada resident “incredibly” raised over $120,000 in GiveSendGo fundraising campaigns that referred to him as “Beijing Biden’s political prisoner” in “America’s Gitmo” — a reference to the Guantanamo Bay detention center.
GiveSendGo co-founder Heather Wilson said her site’s decision to allow legal defense funds for January 6th defendants “is rooted in our society’s commitment to the presumption of innocence and the freedom for all individuals to hire private attorneys.”
The government’s push for more fines comes as it reaches a milestone in the largest federal investigation in American history: Just over 500 defendants have been sentenced for participating in the Jan. 6 protests.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press