Keefe vows to prosecute those who stormed US Capitol

By The News Service of Florida staff

Lawrence Keefe, the U.S. attorney for Florida’s Northern District, vowed to identify and prosecute individuals who engaged in the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

“The criminal acts of domestic terrorism at our nation’s Capitol yesterday shock the sensibilities of all law-abiding, patriotic Americans, regardless of their political leanings,” Keefe said in a release on Thursday. Keefe pledged to go after participants who live in the federal judicial district, which stretches from Gainesville to the Alabama-Florida border.

“Our Capitol is a historic symbol of the republic and the seat of a lawmaking body that is the envy of the world. The attack on our Capitol is an assault on America’s democracy and an insult to all Americans. It cannot and will not be tolerated,” Keefe said.

Keefe, who was nominated for the position by President Donald Trump in 2018, added his office will “do everything within our authority to identify and prosecute any individuals from this district who violated federal law and travelled to Washington to participate in this dangerous lawlessness.”

Thousands of Trump supporters gathered outside of the Capitol Wednesday before breaking into the building and temporarily blocking Congress from voting on the certification of the 2020 election results. Trump has refused to acknowledge President-elect Joe Biden’s victory and has repeatedly alleged the election was “rigged” or fraudulent, despite a lack of evidence to back up such claims.

Pandemonium broke out Wednesday as U.S. representatives and senators were rushed out of the House and Senate chambers and sent to secure locations shortly before Trump backers roamed throughout the Capitol. Many of the participants were captured on camera or video. Keefe described those involved as “neither patriots nor protesters; they are shameless criminals, and must be treated as such.” Congress eventually certified the election early Thursday morning, after law enforcement officers secured the building.