Judge says Capitol rioters not ‘political prisoners’ in sentencing of Michigan man

Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced Karl Dresch, 41, to six months in prison after he pleaded guilty to entering the Capitol building during the Jan. 6 riot, saying he and other defendants are not "political prisoners." File Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI

Aug. 5 (UPI) — A federal judge on Wednesday said that a Michigan man who pleaded guilty to entering the Capitol building and others jailed for their actions during the Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington, D.C., are not political prisoners.

Karl Dresch, 41, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building in exchange for the government dropping remaining counts against him — including a felony count of obstruction of an official proceeding as he and other supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol while Congress attempted to certify President Joe Biden’s election win.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced Dresch to six months in prison and he will be released on Wednesday as he has been in jail since mid-January and will receive credit for time already served.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Jackson stressed that Dresch’s social media posts before and after the riot likened the insurrection to a revolution, describing the day as a “total victory” and saying that “traitors” in Congres would now know “who’s really in charge.”

“The defendant did not spend six months in jail because he is a political prisoner. He was not prosecuted for his political views,” Jackson said. “The defendant came to the Capitol because he placed his trust in someone who repaid that trust by lying to him.”

Dresch received the maximum sentence due to his criminal record, which includes a 2013 high-speed police chase across state lines.

In addition to the jail time, he was also ordered to pay $500 in restitution and a $10 court fee.

Jackson waived additional fines as he was unable to pay them and said the plea deal was appropriate because he was not accused of violence or destruction of property.

“To his credit, while the defendant is a big talker, his actions did not match his rhetoric,” she said.

The judge however continued her sharp criticism of Dresch’s actions, describing him as an “enthusiastic participant” in an effort “to subvert democracy, to stop the will of the people and replace it with the will of the mob.”

“You called yourself and everyone else patriots, but that’s not patriotism,” Jackson said. “Patriotism is loyalty to country, loyalty to the Constitution, not loyalty to a head of state. That is the tyranny we rejected on July 4.”

Dresch is the third defendant to receive jail time after pleading guilty to their role in the riot with more than 550 criminal cases still unresolved.

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