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Barr suggests charging violent protesters with sedition

September 16, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Attorney General William Barr appears before the House Judiciary Committee on July 28, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. In his first congressional testimony in more than a year, Barr is expected to face questions from the committee about his deployment of federal law enforcement agents to Portland, Oregon, and other cities in response to Black Lives Matter protests; his role in using federal agents to violently clear protesters from Lafayette Square near the White House last month before a photo opportunity for President Donald Trump in front of a church; his intervention in court cases involving Trump???s allies Roger Stone and Michael Flynn; and other issues. (Photo by Matt McClain-Pool/Getty Images)

Attorney General William Barr expressed frustration with some local and state prosecutors' handling of riot-related crimes, telling top Justice Department prosecutors that he wants them to be aggressive in bringing charges related to protest violence, including exploring using a rarely used sedition law, according to a person familiar with the matter.

(CNN)Attorney General William Barr expressed frustration with some local and state prosecutors' handling of riot-related crimes, telling top Justice Department prosecutors that he wants them to be aggressive in bringing charges related to protest violence, including exploring using a rarely used sedition law, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Since taking office in 2019, Barr has lashed out at a group of left-leaning district attorneys in cities around the country who have sought to change the way they prosecute low-level drug and other crimes.

Still, some federal prosecutors were taken aback last week when the attorney general brought up the possibility of charging violent protesters with sedition, which makes it a crime to conspire to overthrow the US government.

Since June, federal prosecutors have brought more than 200 criminal cases against people who allegedly were involved in violence during protests that followed the killing of George Floyd.

Some cases have been for riot-related crimes and some have been for lesser offenses that usually are handled by local authorities, not federal prosecutors.

Barr told attorneys nationwide on the recent call that he wants them to find ways to bring federal cases as a way to deal with unrest in cities around the country.

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