The Biden Department of Justice continues its heavy-handed approach of weaponizing the judiciary against its critics, using the events of January 6th to set countless examples that make instances of despotic regimes criminalizing dissent tantamount to a blueprint that Attorney General Merrick Garland has chosen to follow. Just days after the former chairman of the Proud Boys was sentenced to 22 years in prison, the longest of any January 6th defendant this far, the Biden DoJ has made it clear that no stone will be left unturned in penalizing anyone charged for their role at the capitol that day; even for the most miniscule of infractions. That unrelenting stringency has reached new levels of scrutiny in the case of US v. Jonathan Owen Shroyer. The defendant in that case being Owen Shroyer, a long time host on InfoWars and one of Alex Jones' longest tenured and most public facing media personalities.
Although Shroyer reached a plea agreement in which Merrick Garland's DoJ dropped many of the charges brought against him, prosecutors are still seeking 120 days in prison for Shroyer simply for his actions of speaking out against the results of the 2020 Presidential Election at the capitol on January 6th. The actions that the DoJ is rationalizing their sentencing recommendation against Shroyer come from the Statement of Offense made in his plea deal. In that allocution, Shroyer affirms that he was present during the January 6th demonstration and admits to making statements including beckoning others in attendance that “We will not accept the fake election of that child-molesting Joe Biden, that Chinese Communist agent Joe Biden, we know where he belongs and it’s not the White House!” The agreement Shroyer entered into with the Biden DoJ would find him guilty of the Class A Misdemeanor of Entering And Remaining In A Restricted Building or Grounds.
Despite the flaccid leverage that plea deal gave prosecutors, they are seemingly hell-bent on making an example of Shroyer in line with the vitriol they've levied against his follow January 6th defendants. Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a), which sets the rules of procedure for sentencing in a federally filed criminal case, prosecutors have recommended that Shroyer be sentenced to 120 days of incarceration, 12 months of supervised release, and $500 in restitution simply for what he said on January 6th. This means that the rationale for the prosecution's sentencing recommendation is wholly intent on criminalizing the defendant's free speech.
JUST IN: Prosecutors are seeking 120 days in jail for Alex Jones sidekick Owen SHROYER, saying his rhetoric prior to — and on — Jan. 6 bear significant responsibility for the chaos that unfolded. https://t.co/NLB16NxsNs pic.twitter.com/bzXOCVANAv— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) September 6, 2023
While the sentencing recommendation is part and parcel with the DoJ's mission to turn questioning anything about the 2020 election into a thought crime, the pettiness of this case was something even Shroyer's prosecutors couldn't completely ignore. The sentencing guidelines under 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) would have allowed for a maximum of 6 months in prison and restitution of up to $9,500. Their sentencing recommendation would not reach those thresholds. Given the admissions made by Shroyer in his case, his defense attorneys were optimistic that their client would only receive probation in the wake of the plea deal they agreed to back in June.
Though prosecutors relented from recommending the maximum penalty under the law against Shroyer, the sentence he will ultimately be given is out of their hands and rests in that of the judge presiding over his case. When Shroyer is finally sentenced, the duration of his potential incarceration of extent of the monetary restitution due will fall into the hands of US District Judge Timothy J. Kelly. The judge could exceed the prosecution's sentencing recommendations. This would follow a pattern in which federal judges have punished January 6th defendants to the furthest extent of the law. One of the most extreme example of which came from US District Judge Tanya Chutkan who sentenced 4 separate January 6th defendants to prison despite prosecutors recommending that none of them be incarcerated following their guilty pleas.
While Chutkan is not presiding over Shroyer's case, the track record of the judge who is raises cause for concern. U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly presided over the cases brought against Ethan Nordean and Dominic Pezzola for their role on January 6th, giving those defendants 18 and 10 year prison sentences respectively. While the gravity of the charge Shroyer has plead guilty to pales in comparison those which Nordean and Pezzola were found guilty for, the political agenda behind the prosecution of anyone charged relating to the events of January 6th shows that justice is far from blind. If anything, it has its eyes set on any target behind the cross hairs of a weaponized justice department that is less concerned with the rule of law and more concerned with ruling with an iron fist.
Shroyer will find out his fate when he is sentenced on September 12th, 2023.