Former SC U.S. Attorney explains possible charges for crimes on Capitol Hill

Updated: Jan. 7, 2021 at 11:39 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Federal Prosecutors in South Carolina could charge people involved in crimes committed on Capitol Hill.

On Wednesday, the United States Attorney for South Carolina said anyone who traveled to take part in Wednesday’s storming of the U.S. Capitol will be prosecuted on federal charges.

Former South Carolina U.S. Attorney Pete Strom says the federal law is broad and allows people to be charged for crimes particularly in conspiracies that begin in one place and end in another.

“If there are people in South Carolina who are on the internet and are conspiring with people in North Carolina to go to Washington, to damage federal property, to riot; any of those types of crimes are associated with a violation of federal laws and could be charged in South Carolina,” Strom said.

Strom said federal agencies will be looking at thousands of cameras and video tapes to identify the people involved. He also says the Federal Bureau of Investigation will be analyzing chatrooms and digging through the internet to link people together.

“I expect that they are going to get to the bottom of this. I expect that everybody’s name is going to end up in a database and they are going to figure out who broke the law,” Strom said. “These cases aren’t hard to prove, they are labor intensive but, in this case, Congress is going to make sure they have the money.”

Strom believes most people will be charged with lying to a federal law enforcement officer, known as the 1001 violation.

“The FBI will show up to your house and ask you some questions they know you are lying about, and it’s a lot easier to prove that you lied to them, in many cases, then prove that you conspired to do something illegal,” Strom said. “I would think that you got these substantive crimes, seditious conspiracy, damage to federal property, rioting, those kinds of things, but the back up to that is the federal officer, so those are the charges I would see coming out of this.”

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