Former U.S. Attorney for ND breaks down riot investigation
"As a former federal prosecutor I was thinking to myself the variety of tools in the federal prosecutor tool box to hold people accountable."
WASHINGTON – Days after the attack on the U.S. capitol federal agencies have made dozens of arrests.
“As I was watching the attack unfold, as a former federal prosecutor I was thinking to myself the variety of tools in the federal prosecutor tool box to hold people accountable,” Former U.S. Attorney for North Dakota Tim Purdon said.
Those tools include the FBI and ATF working to collect evidence as they continue making arrests.
“In today’s world of text messages, DM’s, emails, all it takes is the investigation of somebody’s cell phone, their text exchanges. Federal agents, I’m sure are gathering search warrants to access text messages, phones, dm’s, emails and they can likely establish the criminal intent necessary for a conspiracy charge,” Purdon said.
Purdon says some of those involved could face conspiracy charges because they crossed state lines to participate in the attack.
“It is a federal felony to travel interstate across a state border for purposes of committing a crime. I know for instance that there were buses organized from North Dakota that went to the capitol. If there are text messages from people who got on those buses saying ‘When we get there we’re going to storm the capitol and we’re going to break in’ that’s enough evidence to charge interstate travel and further in some criminal activity,” Purdon said.
Purdon says, crossing state lines just begins to scratch the surface on a federal crime level.
“These are serious federal charges and they should be looked at, and we haven’t even gotten to the assaults, the homicides, the illegal possession of weapons by people who attacked the capitol,” Purdon said.
As federal officials continue their investigation, Purdon says there could be more violence come inauguration day.
“The FBI has warned of possible additional violent terrorist events, both in Washington and at state capitols between now and the inauguration. I hope that North Dakota officials, people who secure the capitol, I’m sure that they’re sharing intel and monitoring the organizational activities that are on the way and hopefully they are doing their best to make sure that we don’t have any sort of incident,” Purdon said.
Purdon says he is confident that government officials across the country are responding to tips and that hundreds of arrests will continue to be made in the days to come.