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In addition to lengthy prison sentences, the Department of Justice has been regularly requesting that January 6 convicts pay thousands of dollars in fines to offset the haul of money that some of them have raised through crowdsourcing.
According to a report from the AP, the DOJ believes it is entitled to this money because many of the defendants have pled guilty to the charges against them, and the agency does not want any guilty party to be able to profit from criminal behavior. As one DOJ prosecutor suggested, such defendants should not be able to "capitalize" on the "notoriety gained in the commission of" their crimes.
Even attorney William Shipley, who has represented dozens of January 6 suspects — including Jacob Chansley, aka the QAnon Shaman — told the outlet that he discourages his clients from presenting themselves as political prisoners on crowdsourcing sites like GiveSendGo if they intend to plead guilty. "Until they admit they committed a crime, they’re perfectly entitled to shout from the rooftops that the only reason they’re being held is because of politics," Shipley said.
And several January 6 defendants have done just that. On Tucker Carlson's former Fox News show last March, Daniel Godwyn, a defendant from Texas, promoted a website that collects donations on behalf of "J6 political prisoners" who are languishing in an "American Gulag." Godwyn himself has raised $25,000, ostensibly from that website.
Markus Maly, a Virginia man who was convicted of obstructing police officers and "assaulting, resisting, or impeding" them with a deadly weapon on January 6, received $16,000 in donations on an account that referred to him as a "January 6 P.O.W.," the AP claimed, though a GiveSendGo account established in Maly's name that has raised just over $16,000 makes no such reference.
"I’ve never had clients that had third-party fundraising like this," Shipley stated. "There’s a segment of the population that is sympathetic toward the plight of these defendants."
In all, those convicted of committing crimes at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, have thus far been ordered to pay nearly $1 million in fines and restitution. And since many of them were also represented by public defenders, the DOJ may have felt justified in confiscating much of their crowdsourced funding since that money may not have been used for legal expenses.
However, others have countered that many of the January 6 defendants felt they had no choice but to plead guilty and cooperate with prosecutors. Shipley has already filed a motion to vacate Chansley's conviction on the premise that the government "suppressed" exculpatory "material," including some of the surveillance footage that Tucker Carlson aired earlier this year. And as of last month, just one January 6 defendant, Matthew Martin, has been acquitted of all charges. The rest have either pled guilty or been convicted, or the legal case against them remains ongoing.
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Sr. Editor, News
Cortney Weil is a senior editor for Blaze News.