[guest post by Dana]
The Department of Homeland Security is estimating roughly 700 people will attend the “Justice for J6” rally in Washington, D.C., on Saturday and has taken steps to make sure law enforcement is better prepared than it was prior to Jan. 6, said Melissa Smislova, deputy undersecretary for intelligence enterprise readiness.
Saturday, Sept. 18, is the date supporters of former President Donald Trump, many with ties to groups that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in protest of his election loss, will return to Washington for a rally. Smislova said DHS has also learned via social media that similar protests are planned in other cities across the country.
Given that “tens of thousands” showed up at the Capitol on Jan. 6, Homeland Security is taking steps to keep better track of how many might be attending this weekend by tracking “publicly available information on protesters, U.S. Park Police permit applications for large gatherings and hotel reservations across the U.S.”.
What a difference 9 months makes:
“What we realized after Jan. 6 is that we had gotten a little bit lax in some of the aggressive conversations,” Smislova said, speaking of DHS’ biweekly calls and outreach to state and local law enforcement about threats in their area. “Some of it was a lack of discipline, complacency maybe, even. … The information was still out there, but you had to actually seek it out as opposed to having it brought to you.”
She added that the department saw the events of Jan. 6 as a “failure on our part” to communicate within the department and to other agencies.
Anyway, speaking of Jan. 6 and the hundreds that have been charged, at least one rioter who claims he was just an independent journalist at the Capitol that fateful day, thinks that he should be paid to show up in court to defend himself against charges:
A Jan. 6 Capitol rioter has demanded hundreds of thousands of dollars to represent himself, and a bizarre $5 million fee if he’s required to do something like providing samples of “bodily fluids.” Eric Bochene, of New York, calculated what he believed to be the cost of hiring a public defender, fired his court-appointed attorney, then said the government should instead spend the money on him. “You want to do business with me? These are my prices” Bochene told Syracuse.com.
Bochene is demanding $10,000 per 30 minutes in court. The price goes up to $50,000 if he feels he is “under duress.” He lists a fee of $500 ($50,000 under duress) for each hour of research, plus huge penalties if he feels there is “something underhanded going on,” per Syracuse.com. For example, there is a $6 million fee for a forged signature, or $5 million if he’s forced to give samples of bodily fluids. “I’m representing myself, so a lot of work gets put into this,” he said.
As temporary fencing is being erected around the Capitol in advance of the event, U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger issued a warning to any potential rabble-rousers:
We are here to protect everyone’s First Amendment right to peacefully protest. I urge anyone who is thinking about causing trouble to stay home. We will enforce the law and not tolerate violence.
The organizer of the “Justice for J6” rally, former Trump campaign staffer and executive director of Look Ahead America Matt Braynard said that despite concerns about possible violence and claims that he has received death threats, “under no circumstances” would the event be canceled.
On a side note, neither chamber of Congress will be in session that day.
Once upon a time, it would be surprising that people are rallying to support hundreds who are facing any number of charges at the violent uprising at the Capitol on Jan. 6, but it really isn’t surprising at all.