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Capitol Rioters’ Social Media Posts Influencing Sentencings

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FILE - Insurrections loyal to President Donald Trump climb the west wall of the the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. For many rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol, self-incriminating messages, photos and videos that they broadcast on social media before, during and after the Jan. 6 insurrection are influencing even the sentences in their criminal cases. Among the biggest takeaways from the Justice Department’s prosecution of the Jan. 6 insurrection is how large a role social media has played, with much of the most damning evidence coming from rioters own words and videos. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

For many rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, self-incriminating messages, photos and videos that they broadcast on social media before, during and after the riot are influencing even the sentences in their criminal cases. Among the biggest takeaways from the Justice Department’s prosecution of the insurrection is how large a role social media has played. Much of the most damning evidence has come from rioters’ own words and videos. FBI agents have identified scores of rioters from public posts and records that were subpoenaed from social media platforms. And now judges are citing defendants’ own words and images as factors weighing in favor of tougher sentences.

 

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