Some rioters on Capitol Hill who posted pictures and videos of themselves in the January 6 riot and then deleted them could have even more legal issues, the Associated press reported.
At least 49 people charged with the riots have been charged with removing incriminating content from their social networks and phones, the AP found, but only a handful have actually been charged with forgery of online content.
Experts told the AP that the removal of the content shows how desperate the defendants were to manipulate the evidence against them once they realized they had legal issues and that it could make it difficult ” Obtaining a plea agreement or any other type of leniency.
“It makes them look delicate, makes them sneaky,” said Gabriel J. Chin, who teaches criminal law at the University of California at Davis.
The AP reported that in one case, Oath Keepers member James Breheny bragged about his involvement in the riot but deleted his Facebook account which contained these messages two days later after someone told him. said to delete all messages related to the event.
Several rioters from the Capitol were taken after posting and boast of their experience on social media. Some have posted pictures of themselves inside the building, including a man who took a photo at the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
His lawyer, Harley Breite, however, argued that he never obstructed justice because he did not know, when he closed the account, that it could be evidence.
“You can’t suppress evidence if you don’t know you’re charged with anything,” Breite said.
While removing content from accounts or phones seems easy, prosecutors could request data from social media companies.
Additionally, sometimes people who receive or see the now deleted content will keep it and send it to the authorities. Content metadata can also indicate whether the content has changed.
“You can’t do it,” Joel Hirschhorn, a Miami criminal defense attorney who is not involved in the Capitol riot cases, told the AP. “Metadata will do it every time.”
545 people were indicted in the Capitol uprising until now.
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