Federal Judge Beryl Howell on Monday challenged the feds on what she suggested to be their too-soft handling of some Jan. 6 insurrectionist cases.
During a hearing of one of the insurrectionists who was pleading guilty to a misdemeanor, Howell questioned why prosecutors were seeking only a total of $1.5 million in fines from the insurrectionists when Congress had shelled out $521 million in taxpayer funds to the National Guard in wake of the attack.
“I’m accustomed to the government being fairly aggressive in terms of fraud when there have been damages that accrue from a criminal act for the restitution amount,” Howell said, per the Washington Post.
“Where we have Congress acting, appropriating all this money due directly to the events of January 6th, I have found the damage amount of less than $1.5 million — when all of us American taxpayers are about to foot the bill for close to half a billion dollars — a little bit surprising,” the judge added.
Howell asked Clayton O’Connor, the prosecutor at the center of the hearing she was overseeing on Monday, for an explanation for those figures, according to Politico.
“I’m happy to get you that answer,” O’Connor told the judge.
Howell also expressed skepticism toward the distinction prosecutors have been making between insurrectionists who proudly broadcasted their involvement in the attack and those who didn’t, per Politico.