Jan. 6 riot suspects defense lawyers tour capitol as a crime scene

Attorneys representing the individuals arrested so far for the January 6 insurrection toured the capitol to help them visualize what occurred there. It was the latest bizarre scene in a Congress still reeling from the most violent attack on the Capitol in centuries: a court-ordered crime scene tour.

Federal prosecutors announced last week that they would open the building to five tours for defense counsel over the next month. In criminal cases, crime scene walk-throughs are typically associated with a shallow grave or a creek in the woods where a body is found.

The attorneys were led through the halls and corridors by Thomas Loyd, the Capitol Police inspector, who would announce each location as the group looked around and took notes.

There is the speaker’s lobby, where an officer shot and killed Ashli Babbitt as she tried to storm the House chamber. The chamber itself, were lawmakers put on gas masks and barricaded themselves inside as the mob beat on the door.

“There was a big battle in here,” Inspector Loyd said, waving the lawyers toward a staircase to the crypt. “You can take pictures.”

The two-hour Capitol tour on Monday was another reminder of the lasting ramifications of an assault that injured 140 officers and killed five. Those charged with being involved hail from across the country — 43 states and the District of Columbia — evidence of how far former President Donald J. Trump’s false claims and lies about widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election spread in the buildup to the assault.

It’s interesting that a court would order a crime scene tour of the capitol, federal prosecutors consider the location a crime scene, but republicans avoid serious discussion about the event almost like a criminal invoking the right to remain silent.

The New York Times (nytimes.com)