Jan. 6 Sentencing Judge Reminds RNC That Riot Was Not 'Legitimate Political Discourse'

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A federal judge took aim at the Republican National Committee’s recent distortion of reality during sentencing for a violent Capitol rioter.

“It is not ‘legitimate political discourse,’” Judge Amy Berman Jackson said during her Thursday sentencing of Mark Leffingwell, who will spend six months in prison for assaulting police at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 last year.

Jackson was referring to the RNC’s description of the riot that left five people dead and more than 140 officers injured as “legitimate political discourse” when the group censured two of their own party members last week for daring to suggest that the Capitol attack was, in fact, an attack.

The RNC censured Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) for participating in the House committee investigating the attack.

“Representatives Cheney and Kinzinger are participating in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse,” the resolution said.

In her sentencing of Leffingwell, a 52-year-old Seattle man who pleaded guilty to assaulting two cops, Jackson said disinformation continues to be amplified.

“The heated rhetoric that got you riled up and brought you to Washington, D.C., has not subsided,” Jackson said in her sentencing. “Disinformation is not only available, it’s getting louder and louder every day. You weren’t the only person to fall for it or to embrace it, and some have embraced it who don’t even believe it. The lie that the election was stolen and illegitimate is still being perpetrated. Indeed, it is being amplified, not only on social media but on mainstream news outlets, and worse, it’s become heresy for a member of the former president’s party to say otherwise.”

Jackson added that the attack was “at the direction” of Trump himself.

“So, it needs to be crystal clear that it is not patriotism,” she said. “It is not standing up for America. It is not ‘legitimate political discourse,’ and it is not justified to descend on the nation’s Capitol at the direction of a disappointed candidate and disrupt the national process.”

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.

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