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State prosecutions for Capitol riot possible, says Delaware Attorney General

Delaware Public Media
Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings speaks at a press conference last year

Arrests are still rolling in for those involved in the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week. Delaware’s Attorney General is pushing for full accountability.


Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings lays the blame for last week’s violence on President Trump, Rudy Giuliani and others “at the top” who encouraged supporters to march on the Capitol. 

She stopped short this week of indicating whether she thinks they’re criminally liable—but says the public, law enforcement and other officials will see the evidence. 

“And if the evidence shows that individuals who didn’t physically enter the Capitol, but knew what they were causing, intended to have this happen—then they’re criminally culpable,” she said.

Jennings says she is confident D.C. and federal investigators will “get to the bottom” of who was involved, and that those individuals be arrested. 

As for the right-wing extremists who stormed the capital, Jennings says their behavior was “nothing short of seditious.” In a statement released hours after the event, she called it “treason.”

Michael Sherwin, acting U.S. attorney in Washington, said Tuesday that the initial misdemeanor charges filed against some alleged rioters are “only the beginning.”

“We’re looking at significant felony cases tied to sedition and conspiracy,” Sherwin said, adding that these charges can carry prison sentences of up to 20 years.

So far at least two Delawareans have been arrested in connection with the riot.  Kevin and Hunter Seefriedface federal charges of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, and depredation of government property.

Jennings notes state charges could potentially be brought against rioters as well. 

“Federal crimes are obviously separate and they’re brought by the federal government," she said. "Any crimes that occur in the state of Delaware that are not brought federally could be brought under our state laws.”

Jennings adds it is “incumbent upon” Attorneys General throughout the country to be aware of any state charges that can be brought for activities that occurred within their jurisdictions.


Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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