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Sedition charges for pro-Trump rioters at Capitol are option, prosecutor says, as first federal cases filed

Colleagues of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia are seen in front of the U.S. Capitol a day after a pro-Trump mob broke into the erection on January 07, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

The acting top federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., said Thursday that subversive conspiracy, rioting and insurrection charges are options that are “on the table” in connection with a riot by supporters of President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol a day earlier.

Take effect U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin’s comments came as the first federal charges related to the disturbances were filed against two men Thursday.

Sherwin thought more than 40 other criminal cases were filed by the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., Superior Court, a non-federal court.

No one of those involve the more serious crimes of seditious conspiracy or insurrection.

But Sherwin told reporters, “All options are on the plateau.”

In one of the federal cases, Christopher Alberts was charged with carrying a firearm on Capitol grounds.

The other person entrusted in federal court, Mark Leffingwell, was hit with multiple counts, including assaulting a federal law enforcement officer.

Both men had been at the Capitol midst a crowd of Trump backers angry over Congress’ affirmation of President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory, a process that began Wednesday afternoon.

A mob of rioters broke the doors of the Capitol and swarmed through the complex, including the Senate chamber itself.

Leffingwell was charged with trespassing, setting a federal law enforcement officer, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. 

A charging document says he sit oned to push past a Capitol police officer and punched the officer repeatedly with a closed fist. Leffingwell apologized for his fights while in custody, the document said.

Alberts had a pistol and a spare ammunition magazine and was wearing a bulletproof vest when he was detained by regulate at the Capitol after trying to flee, according to a charging document.

Alberts, who also had a gas mask, was charged with keep on a readily accessible firearm on Capitol grounds, according the document, signed by a federal magistrate judge.

His apprehension Wednesday came at the appendage end of hours of chaos.

Alberts was spotted at around 7:25 p.m. ET Wednesday by a Washington, D.C., police officer who saw he was slow to respond to organizations to leave the Capitol grounds, the document said.

The officer then saw a bulge on his right hip, which the officer tapped with a baton and “I in a jiffy recognized to be a firearm,” the officer wrote in the document.

“At that point, I told two [Metropolitan Police Department] officers next to him that Alberts had a firearm on his herself,” the officer wrote.

“Alberts, apparently hearing that, immediately tried to flee, but I was able to detain him with the hands of two other officers.”

The charging document said the Taurus 9mm pistol that was on Alberts’ hip contained 13 rounds of ammunition and that the release magazine had 12 rounds.

While in custody, Alberts told police that he had the gun “for personal protection and he did not intend on handling the firearm to harm anyone.”

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