'Free Our Patriots Rally' planned in Florida to push for release of jailed Capitol riot defendants

'Free Our Patriots Rally' planned in Florida to push for
release of jailed Capitol riot defendants 1

Republicans in Florida, the state with the most residents to face charges for the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, plan to rally Saturday for the release of all defendants currently held on related counts.

Luis Miguel, a self-described “pro-Trump patriot” planning to primary Sen. Marco Rubio, said his “Free Our Patriots Rally in Tally” will happen in the afternoon near the Florida state Capitol in Tallahassee.

“The patriots who have been hunted down by the corrupt, communist FBI are suffering. Many of them are veterans who fought for this nation. Let’s do our part to ensure they’re liberated,” said Mr. Miguel.

Calling the accused rioters “peaceful protesters” currently being held as “political prisoners by the U.S. government,” Mr. Miguel said rallygoers will urge elected officials to “fight for their release.”

Jeremy Liggett, who is currently running to represent the state’s 7th Congressional District, said he will speak at the event; Christine Quinn, a twice-failed former House hopeful, said she will attend.

Six months after the U.S. Capitol was stormed by supporters of then-President Trump, the Department of Justice said Tuesday that over 535 people have been arrested on related charges nationwide.

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Florida is home to more than 50 of the defendants, or roughly one in 10 of the several hundred charged in federal court, making it the U.S. state with the most residents to be arrested over the riot.

At least 55 of the hundreds of defendants, 11%, served or were serving in the U.S. military, including at least one in active duty, according to the George Washington University’s Program on Extremism.

The riot at the Capitol occurred as Congress met inside to certify the results of the 2020 election and effectively clear the path for President Biden to succeed Mr. Trump and be sworn in two weeks later.

In addition to briefly delaying the democratic process, the rioters caused extensive property damage and injuries to numerous police officers attempting to defend the building. One rioter was shot and killed by an officer defending the building.

Floridians charged over the riot face various counts ranging from conspiracy and assault on a federal officer, to civil disorder, violent entry and obstruction of an official proceeding, among others.

A number of Republicans have sought to downplay the riot in the six months since it occurred. Democratic leadership recently established a select committee to investigate the attack, despite GOP opposition.

Mr. Miguel styles himself as a “dark horse” candidate not unlike Mr. Trump. “He will take up the Trump banner and make America First his hill to die on,” the Senate hopeful declares on his website.

“The GOP establishment has turned a blind eye to the political prisoners, but insurgent patriot candidates haven’t,” Mr. Miguel said on Twitter earlier this week.

It was not clear what size crowd the weekend rally might attract. Mr. Miguel had attempted to promote it on Facebook, but two different “event” pages he created were later removed from the social network.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a message inquiring about the scrubbed event pages.

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