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HomeGeneralRFK Jr. Campaign Calls January 6 Rioters “Activists,” Says They’ve Been Stripped...

RFK Jr. Campaign Calls January 6 Rioters “Activists,” Says They’ve Been Stripped of Their Constitutional Liberties

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Robert F. Kennedy
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The latest fundraising email from the independent presidential campaign of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has sparked controversy for its language regarding individuals facing charges related to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

The email, sent out by “Team Kennedy” on Thursday, referred to the defendants as “activists” who have been “deprived of their Constitutional rights,” which echoed the former President Donald Trump’s rhetoric regarding the events of Jan. 6, 2021.

In the email, the campaign called for the freedom of “political prisoner Julian Assange,” founder of WikiLeaks, showing some similarities between Assange and the Jan. 6 defendants, suggesting that both are victims of prosecutorial misconduct.

The message urged supporters to join the campaign in criticizing the government’s “authoritarian actions” as it is characterized. However, the language used in the fundraising email has drawn some criticisms, with some who questioned the characterization of the Jan. 6 defendants as “activists.”

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Kennedy campaign spokesperson Stephanie Spear later clarified “That statement was an error that does not reflect Mr. Kennedy’s views. It was inserted by a new marketing contractor and slipped through the normal approval process,” she said.

Former President Trump has previously referred to some of his supporters who participated in the Capitol riot as “hostages” and “unbelievable patriots,” criticizing the justice system for its treatment of those people.

However, according to NBC News, only 15 of the Jan. 6 defendants are currently held in pretrial detention, with most of them facing charges related to violence against law enforcement officers.

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Among the defendants held in pretrial detention, several are accused of serious offenses, including homicide and conspiracy to commit violence against government officials. Despite efforts by some to portray them as political prisoners, the majority of defendants have been convicted or are awaiting sentencing.

Kennedy’s stance on issues related to the Capitol riot has drawn some scrutiny in the past. In a recent interview with Fox News, Kennedy expressed his support for pardoning Assange and Snowden but was more circumspect when asked about the Jan. 6 defendants, stating that he would consider individual cases based on evidence of prosecutorial misconduct.

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The Kennedy campaign has yet to provide further comment on the controversy surrounding the fundraising email. However, Kennedy has previously indicated that he would consider pardoning Jan. 6 defendants if evidence of prosecutorial misconduct were presented.

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More than 1,350 people have been charged in connection with the Capitol attack, and prosecutors have secured more than 950 convictions.

Low-level Jan. 6 defendants routinely receive sentences of probation, but about 500 have been sentenced to periods of incarceration that have ranged from a few days behind bars to 22 years in federal prison for a Proud Boy convicted of seditious conspiracy.

In an interview last month with Fox News’s Neil Cavuto, Kennedy said that if elected president, he would use his pardon power “very quickly” to pardon Assange and Snowden. However, he said he would “look at individual cases” when asked about Jan. 6 defendants.

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The Kennedy campaign did not immediately provide comment. Last year, Kennedy told The Washington Post he would consider pardoning Jan. 6 defendants.

“If prosecutorial malfeasance is demonstrated, then yes. Otherwise, no,” he said.

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