The U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee hinted Friday that he and his colleagues are investigating one or more people in that area of the state for this week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.
United States Attorney D. Michael Dunavant announced this in a press release.
Dunavant said he is coordinating with the Memphis Field Division Office of the FBI.
“Any person who traveled from West Tennessee to commit federal crimes in Washington, D.C., as well as anyone who conspired with them or aided or abetted such lawlessness will be aggressively prosecuted by this office,” Dunavant said in the press release.
The Tennessee Star asked Dunavant whether, in fact, they suspect one or more people in the Western District of Tennessee committed a crime at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday.
“This office cannot confirm or deny any specific target or subject of a federal investigation until such time as a formal charging decision is made. We are working closely with our partners at the FBI, who are actively investigating to gather evidence, identify perpetrators, and charge federal crimes where warranted,” Dunavant said in an email.
“We have also called upon the public to provide assistance and information related to the identity of those involved in the commission of federal crimes at the Capitol. This is a coordinated effort by the Department of Justice with our federal law enforcement partners, and the FBI investigation is ongoing, fluid, thorough, and comprehensive in its ability to pursue all leads, and there is no set time frame for investigations to conclude. As the Acting Attorney General has said, the Department of Justice will spare no resources in investigating and holding accountable those responsible.”
Dunavant, in the press release, said federal statutes that may apply include:
• 18 United States Code section 231 – Civil Disorder, which prohibits adversely affecting any federally protected function or obstructing any law enforcement officer from the performance of official duties, or any person who transports a firearm, explosive, or incendiary device to be used in furtherance of civil disorder. This federal crime is punishable by up to five years in prison.
• 18 United States Code section 2101 – The Federal Riot Act, which applies to anyone who travels in interstate commerce to incite, promote, or participate in a riot. This includes anyone who aided or abetted individuals who carried on a riot or committed any act of violence in furtherance of a riot. This federal crime is punishable by up to five years in prison.
• 18 United States Code section 1361 – Damage to Federal Property, which applies to anyone who willfully injures or causes damage to or against any property of the United States. This federal crime is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
• 18 United States Code section 2383 – Rebellion or Insurrection, which provides that whoever incites, assists or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the United States faces up to 10 years in prison.
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