Speed Reads

Jamaica Farewell

Judge tartly denies Jan. 6 defendant's request to vacation in Jamaica with girlfriend's family

Anthony Williams, one of the 527 defendants from the Jan. 6 Capitol attack awaiting trial, asked the federal courts for permission to travel to the Caribbean, and U.S. Chief District Judge Beryl Howell turned him down Thursday.

Williams, who is on pretrial release and facing "a serious felony" charge, "wishes to leave the Michigan winter to spend 10 days in the warmer climes of Jamaica to meet the family of a woman with whom defendant has been in a committed relationship for 'more than a year,'" Howell wrote. "Although such a meeting may be an important step in defendant's personal relationship, defendant surrendered his entitlement to unfettered international travel when, also 'more than a year' ago," he first "allegedly announced his intent to 'Storm the Swamp,'" then "followed through by joining a mob at the Capitol that, in his words, 'took [that] f--king building,'" an event he "allegedly viewed as the "proudest day of [his] life."

"This court will not commemorate the one-year anniversary of this attack on the Capitol by granting defendant's request for non-essential foreign travel when he is awaiting judgment for his actions on that day," Howell concluded. 

Howell has shown acute frustration about Jan. 6 defendants before. In October, she chided federal prosecutors for liberally agreeing to misdemeanor charge in plea deals. "Is it the government's view that the members of the mob that engaged in the Capitol attack on January 6 were simply trespassers?" she asked. "Is general deterrence going to be served by letting rioters who broke into the Capitol ... resolve their criminal liability through petty offense pleas?"

But all four Jan. 6 defendants Howell has sentenced got less jail time than prosecutors sought, "and her decisions are not unusual," The Washington Post reports. "Federal judges in D.C. have gone below the government recommendation in 49 out of 74 sentencings held for Capitol riot defendants one year after the attack, about two-thirds of the cases. In eight cases where prosecutors asked for jail time, the judges instead opted for probation. Of the 74 people sentenced so far, 35 have been given jail or prison time, 14 home detention and 25 probation alone." 

You can read more about the state of the Jan. 6 cases at The Washington Post.