Constitutional law professor Alan Dershowitz told Newsmax Friday that what happened on Jan. 6, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol was a constitutionally protected protest and not a “conspiracy” or “insurrection.”
“This was not an insurrection or conspiracy,” Dershowitz said during “Prime News” Friday. “People acted as individuals, and they should be judged as individuals. That’s the essence of American democracy and the rule of law.”
Although Dershowitz is a self-described liberal and supporter of President Joe Biden and disagrees with the people who showed up at the Capitol two years ago to support former President Donald Trump and his claim that the 2020 election was stolen, he is representing Utah resident Brady Knowlton, who was arrested for being at the Capitol on that day.
Knowlton was arrested in April 2021 in Utah and is facing several charges for being at the Capitol on Jan. 6, according to the Department of Justice.
He pleaded not guilty to all counts during his April 21, 2021 arraignment.
“[Knowlton] wasn’t allowed to graduate or take the bar [since his arrest],” Dershowitz said. “He’s presumed innocent, and yet he’s being treated as if he were guilty and being treated as if he [were] an insurrectionist. He was just a young man who wanted to go to Washington to protest something.”
Dershowitz said civil libertarians should be upset that those arrested for Jan. 6 are being lumped together as “insurrectionists” instead of each case being judged on what the individual may or may have not done during that day.
“Putting them all together in one concept is just so wrong legally and so un-American,” he said. “It is so important for people who are not necessarily on the side of those who would challenge the election to join on a civil liberties basis and defend these folks who are being treated unfairly.”
He said that while he may disagree with the people, he can’t just “sit back” and watch them being treated badly.
“I’m a human rights, civil liberties lawyer; and I can’t sit back and watch people who I disagree with being treated unfairly,” he said. “The essence of justice is individualization. Every single person should be judged individually for what they did and didn’t do. We can’t use group analysis, calling it an insurrection. My clients and others were welcomed into the Capitol, according to videotapes that we’ve seen. Policemen were motioning them forward. They went into the Capitol peacefully and patriotically, and left when they were told to leave.”
According to the DOJ, more than 860 people have been charged in connection with Jan. 6, with more than 50 charged with conspiracy and more than 295 charged with obstructing an official proceeding.
About 484 of those charged have pleaded guilty to federal charges and will face incarceration, according to the agency.
The agency also estimates the damages that day will exceed $2 million.
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