What is sedition and why is the FBI investigating the Capitol riot?

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THOSE found guilty of sedition can be put in jail for several years according to US law.

The FBI announced they would be opening several investigations into sedition following the January 6 Capitol riots.

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Acting attorney for Washington and FBI Michael Sherwin provided an update on criminal charges related to the January 6th siege at the U.S. Capitol.[/caption]

What is sedition?

Sedition in the dictionary is defined as “conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch.”

Words that inspire a revolution that overthrows the government are an example of sedition.

What is seditious conspiracy?

The statute reads: “If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.”

Experts say that the “rarely used statute could be difficult to prove in court and potentially run up against First Amendment protections,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

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Protesters gather in front of a fire near on September 6, 2020 in Portland, Oregon[/caption]

The sedition statute does not require proof of a plot to overthrow the government, according to a memo from President Trump‘s Justice Department to US attorneys, obtained by The Associated Press.

It could be used when a defendant tries to oppose the government’s authority by force, according to the memo.

The memo cited as a hypothetical example “a group has conspired to take a federal courthouse or other federal property by force.”

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A protest in lower Manhattan on September 17[/caption]

Attorney General William Barr has been pushing to bring federal charges in protest-related violence whenever they can.

Why is seditious conspiracy trending?

The proposal has been heavily praised and criticized on Twitter.

“Of course the communist insurrectionists should be prosecuted for seditious conspiracy,” one person wrote.

“AG Barr is absolutely right.”

When was the statute enacted?

William Barr

The seditious conspiracy statute was enacted by Congress during the Civil War to deal with Confederate sympathizers in free states, according to The National Review.

However, the statute is rarely used.

“If people urge the end of the United States or the dissolution of its government, but they do not contemplate accomplishing these objectives by force, then there is no crime,” writes National Review columnist Andrew McCarthy.

However, another Twitter user wrote: “Note to AG #Barr: Please read 18 USC 2384, #SeditiousConspiracy.”

“You’ll need evidence of an agreement specifically to overthrow the US government, levy war, oppose federal authority by force or prevent, delay execution of law. Not enough to prove some guys in black showed up.”

Wrote another: “It really was a missed opportunity by Obama’s DOJ when they didn’t include a seditious conspiracy charge against Bundy and his armed goons when they took over a federal building by force and controlled it for 40 days.”

Why is the FBI investigating sedition and conspiracy at the Capitol riot?

The acting US attorney in Washington, DC, Michael Sherwin said that the FBI and the Justice Department were looking into “significant felony cases tied to sedition and conspiracy” after the Capitol riots.

Sherwin made the announcement on January 12, six days after the riots broke out.

“The scope and scale” of the investigation, Sherwin declared, were unprecedented.

He announced that his office had opened more than 170 subject files so far and charged 70 cases but that prosecutors expected that number to “grow into the hundreds.”

“That’s just the tip of the iceberg,” Steven D’Antuono, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s DC field office added.

D’Antuono said that FBI agents had received more than 100,000 “pieces of digital media” to investigate.

What is the penalty for sedition in the US?

President John Adams signed into law the Sedition Act of 1798, which set out punishments of up to two years of imprisonment for “opposing or resisting any law of the United States” or writing or publishing “false, scandalous, and malicious writing” about the President of the U.S.


How has the Trump administration cracked down on protests?

There have been more than 300 protest arrests on federal crimes since the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.

Public officialsincluding the Seattle mayor – could be in danger of facing criminal charges.

It is believed that Black Lives Matter protests and unrest have caused billions of dollars in damage.

An AP analysis shows that while many people are accused of violent crimes such as arson and burning police cars, others are not.

There has been criticism that some arrests are politically motivated.

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