Over the course of three days in late July, NCLU Chairman John M. Pierce beat back Department of Justice efforts to incarcerate two January 6th defendants who had pleaded guilty to non-violent charges. In the case of United States v. Michael Gianos, the defendant pleaded guilty to one count of 18 U.S.C. § 1752(a)(1), Entering and Remaining in a Restricted or Grounds, a Class A misdemeanor charge that carries a maximum one-year imprisonment. Despite engaging in no violence or property destruction that day and taking responsibility for his actions, the DOJ still sought to imprison Mr. Gianos for three months. One reason is that he wore a Gadsden-flag “Don’t Tread On Me” hooded sweatshirt. Because the sweatshirt coincidentally was the same colors (black and yellow) as the purported Proud Boys “colors,” the DOJ argued this somehow supported a three-month prison sentence. However, Pierce was able to persuade the District Court Judge that considering all the circumstances surrounding Mr. Gianos’ conduct that day and his personal characteristics, he should not be incarcerated for any period. Rather, he was sentenced only to a short home detention and probation period.
A couple of days later, sentencing occurred in the case of United States v. Timothy Hart; the defendant pleaded guilty to 18 U.S.C. § 231(a)(3), Civil Disorder, a felony with a maximum five-year imprisonment. Despite engaging in no violence or property destruction that day and taking responsibility for his actions, the DOJ sought to imprison Mr. Hart for four months. During a lengthy sentencing hearing that included allocutions from Mr. Hart and his wife, Pierce was able to persuade the District Judge that considering all the circumstances surrounding Mr. Hart’s conduct that day as well as his standing in the community as a small business owner and family man, he should not be incarcerated for any period. Instead, he was sentenced only to a short home detention and probation period.
These results further establish an unprecedented track record of success for NCLU-affiliated attorneys in January 6th cases, including representing the most January 6th defendants and defeating at least 14 counts, which have included jury acquittals on Obstructions of Official Proceedings and Seditious Conspiracy in some of the most high-profile January 6th cases to date.