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Massive investigation: DOJ seeks more time to prepare Capitol riot cases

320 charged. 900 search warrants. 15,000 hours of surveillance tape. And they're not done yet.
Pro-Trump protesters break windows of the Capitol building.
Trump supporters break windows at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.Lev Radin / Pacific Press / LightRocket via Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department asked a federal judge Friday for more time to investigate the Capitol riot before having to proceed to trial in several cases, including the prosecution of nine people accused of being followers or members of the Oath Keepers and joining in the attack.

"The investigation and prosecution of the Capitol attack will likely be one of the largest in American history," a court filing said, both in terms of the number of defendants and the sheer volume of evidence. The failure to get more time to prepare the case "would be likely to make a continuation of this proceeding impossible, or result in a miscarriage of justice."

A Justice Department official said 320 people have been charged so far, and the Friday court filing said prosecutors expect that charges will be filed against at least 100 more.

The court document also disclosed new details about the sprawling nature of the riot investigation.

More than 900 search warrants have been executed in nearly all 50 states and Washington, D.C. And investigators have received a huge volume of material, including more than 15,000 hours of surveillance and police body camera video, 1,600 electronic devices, more than 80,000 reports of interviews with witnesses and suspects, and more than 210,000 tips from members of the public.

"The number of defendants charged and the volume of potentially discoverable materials will only continue to grow," the court filing said.

While conspiracy charges have been filed against a small number of defendants, law enforcement officials have said additional charges could be filed against others, alleging a broader conspiracy. That, too, would add to the complexity of the case.

Friday's court filing said lawyers for some of the defendants indicated they would oppose the request for more time, but they did not immediately file a motion in opposition.