On the morning of President Trump’s inauguration, police trapped and arrested more than 230 people. Some were anti-Trump demonstrators; some were not. The next day, federal prosecutors charged them all with “felony rioting”, a nonexistent crime in Washington DC. The prosecution then launched a sweeping investigation into the defendants’ lives, demanding vast amounts of online information through secret warrants.
Prosecutors eventually dropped a few defendants, like journalists and legal observers, but simultaneously increased the charges against everyone else. The most recent indictment collectively charged more than 200 people with felony rioting, felony incitement to riot, conspiracy to riot, and five property-damage crimes – all from broken windows.
Each defendant is facing over 60 years in prison.
The prosecution next obtained warrants focused on anti-Trump organizers. One sought a list of all visitors to a website that organizers used to promote Inauguration Day protests. A second sought information on all Facebook friends and related communications of two organizers, the host of a coalition Facebook page, and those who simply “liked” that page.