Jan. 6 is the day Congress meets to accept the presidential election results from the Electoral College. President-elect Joe Biden won that election, the College confirmed that and thus the wheels of American democracy turn once again as they always have.
Incitement to Riot is a federal crime
According to federal code, it’s a crime when an individual “travels in interstate or foreign commerce or uses any facility of interstate or foreign commerce, including, but not limited to, the mail, telegraph, telephone, radio, or television, with intent” to Incite a riot; organize, promote, encourage, participate in, or carry on a riot; or commit any act of violence in furtherance of a riot; as well as aid or abet any person in inciting or participating in or carrying on a riot or committing any act of violence in furtherance of a riot.
President Trump ticked off all the appropriate boxes on December 19th
Trump tweeted: Peter Navarro releases 36-page report alleging election fraud ‘more than sufficient’ to swing victory to Trump https://washex.am/3nwaBCe. A great report by Peter. Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 Election. Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!
It’s the ‘Big protest in D.C. on January 6th’ that’s a problem. There were no plans, nor any applications for a protest march, prior to Trump advertising one.
‘Be there, will be wild!’ is an incitement both to gather illegally and be wild to white supremacists, his Proud Boys and Wolverine Watchmen armed supporters. A recent New York Times investigation claims that there are some 300 anti-government, pro-Trump “militia” groups.
More on ‘Rioting, Inciting to Riot, and Related Offenses’ from findlaw.com
Although citizens have the right to free speech and assembly found in the First Amendment to the Constitution, cities can regulate the right to demonstrate by requiring permits or limiting demonstrations to a designated area. As such, demonstrations that lack the proper permits, or run outside of pre-designated areas may be deemed a riot, or the related offense of unlawful assembly, which typically involves peaceful but unpermitted demonstrations.
Incitement to riot is when a person encourages others to commit a breach of the peace without necessarily acting themselves. This may involve statements, signs, or conduct intended to lead others to riot.
Conspiracy to riot involves planning acts that, if undertaken, would result in a breach of the peace. However, conspiracy convictions usually require the defendant to have undertaken an overt act in furtherance of their plan.
Our president appears to have encouraged both, calling for a repeat of last week’s confrontations in D.C. on the day of the Electoral College vote.
Photo credit: Julio Cortez/Associated Press