Police with guns drawn watch as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

Justice Department prosecutors have formally walked back their assertion in a court filing that said Capitol rioters sought to “capture and assassinate elected officials.”

A federal prosecutor in Arizona asked a magistrate judge in a hearing on Friday to strike the line in a recent court filing about defendant Jacob Anthony Chansley, a man who is alleged to have led some in the crowd in the first wave into the Capitol with a bullhorn while carrying a spear and wearing a fur headdress.

The entire line the prosecutors want to omit from their court filing is: “Strong evidence, including Chansley’s own words and actions at the Capitol, supports that the intent of the Capitol rioters was to capture and assassinate elected officials in the United States Government.”

The stunning move comes a few hours after the Michael Sherwin, the acting US attorney in Washington, DC, said at a press conference there was “no direct evidence of kill and capture teams” at this time in the siege of the Capitol building.

In court, Todd Allison, a line prosecutor for the Justice Department in Arizona, said DOJ may want to argue that type of assertion if Chansley goes to trial, but cannot say that at the moment.

“We do not want to mislead the court by discussing the strength of any specific evidence” related to his intent, Allison said.

Chansley will remain in jail as he awaits trial, a judge decided on Friday, after the Justice Department portrayed him as a particularly belligerent leader among the rioters.Chansley’s case eventually will move to the federal court in DC.

The line was a chilling description yet of rioters who seized the Capitol last week, writing in a court filing that the intention was “to capture and assassinate elected officials.”

Justice Department lawyers have begun describing in more alarming terms what transpired.

In a separate case, prosecutors in Texas court alleged that a retired Air Force reservist who carried plastic zip tie-like restraints on the Senate floor may have intended to restrain lawmakers.

Chansley’s attorney said he is not violent.

“He loved Trump, every word. He listened to him. He felt like he was answering the call of our president,” Chansley’s attorney Al Watkins, appearing on CNN Thursday night, said. “My client wasn’t violent. He didn’t cross over any police lines. He didn’t assault anyone.” Watkins said Chansley also hopes for a presidential pardon.

Prosecutors describe those who took over the Capitol as “insurrectionists” and offer new details about Chansley’s role in the violent siege last week, including that after standing at the dais where Vice President Mike Pence had stood that morning, Chansley wrote a note saying “it’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.”

Chansley later told the FBI he did not mean the note as a threat but said the Vice President was a “child-trafficking traitor” and went on a long diatribe about Pence, Biden and other politicians as traitors.

Before he was arrested, Chansley told the FBI he wanted to return to Washington for the inauguration to protest.

Prosecutors accuse Chansley of being a flight risk who can quickly raise money through non-traditional means as “one of the leaders and mascots of QAnon, a group commonly referred to as a cult (which preaches debunked and fictitious anti-government conspiracy theory).”

They also said Chansley suffers from mental illness and is a regular drug user, according to prosecutors’ detention memo.

Source: https://edition.cnn.com

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