Crime

US Attorney Nolan would prosecute Capitol riot planning (if any) committed in Vermont

by Christina Nolan, US Attorney for Vermont

This statement is issued in response to inquiries received over the last two days from the press and the public regarding the violence in Washington D.C. and whether our office will investigate and prosecute perpetrators.  

US Attorney for VT Christina Nolan

The storming of the Capitol was a reprehensible act that marked a dark, tragic, and appalling moment in the history of the country.  It placed many in great danger and we grieve for those who suffered.  We mourn the indelible wound to the psyche of the nation.  We denounce the violence in the strongest terms.

Peaceful protest and freedom of assembly are vital American rights and traditions that we should all support and defend no matter the viewpoint espoused.  But when peaceful protest devolves into violence, the conduct should be roundly condemned and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  

Some in Vermont have asked where potential prosecutions should occur.  The Constitution provides that a criminal defendant has a right to a trial in a venue where the crime occurred.  

The fact that a person resides in a particular state does not, in itself, mean that the state’s state or federal courts are proper venues for the prosecution of that individual.  Instead, generally speaking, to have venue in a jurisdiction, there must be sufficient evidence that some part of the criminal offense occurred in that jurisdiction.  Thus, speaking hypothetically, if a citizen of Vermont traveled to Washington D.C. for the sole purpose of participating in a peaceful protest (legal conduct), but during that protest spontaneously decided to commit a crime against the United States, or other unlawful acts, that crime would be prosecutable in courts in the District of Columbia, not in Vermont.  

But in a situation where a part of the illegal activity occurred in Vermont or otherwise had a connection to Vermont – such as an individual conspiring in Vermont to commit a federal crime in Washington D.C. (for example, destruction of federal property, arson, or assault on a federal officer) and then traveling to D.C. and committing that crime – then there would be venue in federal court in Vermont, assuming we had all the necessary evidence to charge.  (Importantly, this is not the only fact pattern under which we would have venue in Vermont, merely one illustrative example.)  

As always, our office would need to carefully consider any evidence assembled by law enforcement before initiating a prosecution.  Finally, in providing this explanation, our office is not suggesting that we have any actual, current information about crimes prosecutable in Vermont.  We do not confirm or deny the existence of investigations.

We hope for, and support, the prosecution of those who committed violence and desecration against our American government buildings, institutions, proceedings, and people.  We must all do our part to defend the rule of law.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Vermont remains committed as ever to prioritizing prosecution of violent crime and pursuing cases of national import where we have venue and proof beyond a reasonable doubt. 

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12 replies »

  1. I think all countries should strive to be independent of the essentials. I would like to know what percentage is current. Has there been a realistic analysis of the capacity based on where were at and where we would go? Farmers are the most essential people on the planet and should be the highest paid. politicians should be used as manure. drbob

  2. That is a great speech,and if there is something to look into it should be done;however,they have the intruders in custody; and why are Vermonters being chased down?Where were State and Federal Prosecutors when BLM caused disruptions in Vermont;exactly why is anything always President Trumps fault?The government needs to stay out of our lives and let us live peacefully!!

  3. If there’s one thing that we know will calm down a riled population, it’s persecution, tighter controls, and the widest double-standards you can muster.

  4. Caution:
    This assessment was published yesterday by Vermont’s US Attorney, Christina E. Nolan, regarding the ‘storming of the Capitol’ Wednesday last, and the participation of Vermonters in the protest.

    “…in a situation where a part of the illegal activity occurred in Vermont or otherwise had a connection to Vermont – such as an individual conspiring in Vermont to commit a federal crime in Washington D.C. (for example, destruction of federal property, arson, or assault on a federal officer) and then traveling to D.C. and committing that crime – then there would be venue in federal court in Vermont, assuming we had all the necessary evidence to charge.”

    https://vermontbiz.com/news/2021/january/08/vermont-us-attorney-statement-regarding-storming-capitol-and-venue-prosecution

    While I understand the indignation and urge inherent in Vermont’s conservative movement against tyranny, not to mention the patriotic impulse to stand up in front of this oppression – as you might remember the young man standing in defiance in front of no fewer than four tanks in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests against the Chinese Communist Party – please think twice. We are now at a major disadvantage in this struggle. No matter how well-meaning we are, no matter how peaceful we are, playing into this tyranny’s strength will serve only to strengthen the tyranny.

    The last bastion of the three pillars of our Constitutional Republic, the judiciary, is now corrupt as well. Not only is due process and equal protection extinct, the courts (as witnessed above) will stop at nothing to define all of us, peaceful as we may be, as a seditious insurrection, while allowing special interest groups, the media and other malicious operatives who support them (you know who they are), to do their bidding.

    Not only may you lose your jobs, you may be prosecuted, fined, even go to jail. Don’t give them the excuse to do this to you. Simply airing a carelessly worded opinion, at this point in time, can be interpreted, as US Attorney Nolan articulated, as “where a part of the illegal activity occurred in Vermont or otherwise had a connection to Vermont – such as an individual conspiring in Vermont to commit a federal crime”. Clearly, this opinion allows for broad legal over-reach.

    Our Constitutional Republic has been circumvented by a Direct Democracy. It is, indeed, like two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. We’re on the menu. Be smart. Be careful. Stay safe. This is not over.

  5. I was so impressed by Prosecutor Nolan’s even handed indignation at civil disorder so illustrated by her comments on this summer’s outrages of BLM and antifa. Wait. Oh, nevermind.

  6. It would be prudent for the lady to wait to see if the perpetrators were, indeed, President Trump supporters or maybe they were infiltrators. But that would not serve her purpose. The real game here is to intimidate and silence any Vermonter who supports President Trump in an effort to assure he can never run for President again.

    • I don’t think she’s playing that game, although no doubt many are. I think she’s saying, if a crime was committed in DC, it gets prosecuted there. If it happened here, it gets prosecuted here.

      • I disagree, Guy. Ms. Nolan’s point is that a crime committed in DC may be judged to have its roots here in VT – and be litigated in either venue. I spent much of my career working in the Boston and NYC construction sectors. I recognize a threat when I see one. Ms. Nolan is clearly addressing, first, those Vermonters who went to the demonstration, …and their kindred spirits who may wish to continue the protest. Second, she’s addressing the current Vermont political establishment in which she works, letting them know she can be trusted not to rock the government over-reach boat. This is not a ‘conspiracy theory’. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, and its over.

        As I said in my previous comment. This isn’t over. Yes, Trump’s presidency is done. But judicial review of the process is just getting started. I’ll be elaborating more on this point in the future.

  7. Office holders who are complicit in covering up the voter fraud issues should be thinking of their own backsides, because any U S attorney worth his/her salt will be at some point looking in all directions. I think we should start with the incompetent Rep Peter Welch, who made it clear he was not inclined to look into that issue. (Apparently it only applies to him if Republicans are in the noose). What a derelect!! He along with the other two certainly carry the legacy of Larry, Mo, and Curly. What an embarrasment!!!!
    If one desires direct answers from Congressmen, it is neccessary to write to R’s who are from another state. Direct answers that like minded constituents need will not be forthcoming from L , M, orC.

  8. I understand this piece as a cold, hard, and blindfolded legal opinion (as it should be) concerning law and order and if Atty. Nolan’s actions should, at some time in the future, be to the contrary then I would have to recant.

  9. Oh really? Where were these people during the BLM & Antifa “peaceful protests” (what a joke) in Vermont and the rest of the country? Such hypocrisy is enough to make me vomit.

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