Washington — Federal judge has opened up a path for defendants accused of their roles in the January 6 attack at the Capitol. This is cooperation with the House select investigation the Riot.

Chief judge of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., Judge Beryl Howell issued a lighter sentence last Friday than the recommendation of prosecutors in the case against Robert Schornak, of Michigan. Howell also cited Schornak’s interactions and meetings with the House January 6 committee.

According to CBS News’ review of court filings, Schornak is one among 20 defendants in Capitol breach. He pleaded guilty the misdemeanor of entering and remaining inside a restricted building. Schornak’s case was made more serious by the Justice Department asking for a six-month sentence.
A sentencing memo from the prosecutors states that Schornak “demonstrated preparedness and intent by engaging with communications about his anticipated combative behaviour in Washington, D.C.” He stated “we cannot stay home ‘n see our republic being stolen.” Let’s fight! Schornak also admitted that he stole an American flag from Capitol grounds in January 6.

Howell stated that Schornak’s behavior wasn’t a “garden-variety episode or unlawful entry” and was concerned that Schornak had taken a selfie “with a fellow rioter.” Schornak was sentenced to 30 days in prison and two months in home confinement by the judge, which is far less than the recommended sentence by prosecutors.

Howell repeatedly referred to Schornak’s cooperation in the January 6 committee during the proceedings as a reason for her final decision.

“It is to his credit that defendant cooperated with law enforcement following his arrest. Howell stated that defendant has gone further to show his remorse and spoken with House select committee investigators to help them understand the full extent of what happened. He deserves credit for this. That type of cooperation I believe is beneficial to this country. It’s also helpful in making amends for the events of January 6th, to the extent the House select committee can be successful.”

Schornak lean into his meeting with the House Committee in his sentencing memo asking for leniency. Schornak’s lawyer wrote that Schornak “has worked to seek forgiveness form his country — he did all that he could to help the House of Representatives Select Committee with their mission to prevent such a thing from happening again.” He now asks for forgiveness from the Court.

Legal analysts said that the leniency displayed by Howell in Schornak’s case could be a sign and a message for future sentencing hearings of other January 6 defendants.

Catherine Ross, a George Washington University law professor, stated that cooperation with the FBI and the committee will result in the shortest sentence possible and the greatest chance of rebuilding one’s life.

Scott Fredericksen, a former federal prosecutor, said that “this is an important development.” It allows the January 6 committee to gather new evidence about the source, coordination and extent of the insurrection and where it might have led.

Lucius Outlaw, an ex-federal defender, stated that cooperating defendants are more likely to be remorseful. Judges and prosecutors widely believe that a person is truly sorry if he or her not only admits to what they did but also explains the details including who else was involved.

An increasing number of defendants are willing to meet with the committee’s staff. Stewart Rhodes is the founder of Oath Keepers militia and is charged with seditious conspiracies . He is the most prominent and high-ranking of the 740 people who were charged in the Capitol attack. The meeting with the committee lasted nearly six hours earlier in the month.

Some lower-level defendants also did so. According to court filings Thomas Vinson, a Kentucky defendant, pleaded guilty in a misdemeanor and alerted court to a request by the committee late last.