For nearly three years, the American people have received media-filtered coverage of court proceedings for January 6 defendants in the nation’s capital.
Pandemic-era rules enabled the public to access hearings by telephone during the early stages of the Department of Justice’s prosecution of Capitol protesters. But as the first jury trials commenced in the spring of 2022, phone-in lines for most D.C. courtrooms were shut down. Now anyone, including reporters, interested in covering the district court in Washington—where jury trials, plea agreements, and sentencing decisions for January 6 defendants take place—must attend in person. Electronic devices are not permitted in the courtroom; media rooms are often full for high-profile cases.
The blackout is, of course, by design. Had Americans witnessed the shameful behavior of federal prosecutors and judges in January 6 proceedings, a revolt would be underway. Imagine the public outcry to this: judges granting the government’s demand to deny release of Donald Trump supporters accused of no serious crime; DOJ lawyers concealing potentially exculpatory evidence including video from defendants; harsh condemnations of Trump supporters’ political views including the belief the 2020 election was stolen; tearful Marxist-era struggle sessions where January 6 defendants beg for mercy by denouncing their one-time support for