It looks like some Capitol rioters are taking plea deals and agreeing to sell each other out

It looks like some Capitol rioters are taking plea deals and agreeing to sell each other out
Rioters clash with police using big ladder trying to enter Capitol building through the front doors.Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images
  • Legal experts think some of the people charged in the Capitol riot may be cooperating with federal prosecutors.
  • The Daily Beast identified several charged with an information rather than a grand jury indictment.
  • An information charge usually means someone plans to plead guilty, and often indicates cooperation.

Federal prosecutors are nearly a month into their investigations into people who stormed the Capitol building on January 6, filing charges against more than 200 people so far.

Court records indicate some of those people may be informing the FBI about other participants, according to The Daily Beast.

The Daily Beast identified three people who had been subjected to a charging instrument called an information, rather than a grand jury indictment.

An information is a type of charging instrument prosecutors typically use when the defendant plans to plead guilty.

According to Randy Zelin, a criminal defense attorney at Wilk Auslander LLP and adjunct professor at Cornell Law School, it also typically means the defendant is cooperating with government prosecutors.


"If the government is drawing up an information, and someone is working this out with the government, more often than not, that means that they're cooperating and entered into a cooperation agreement with the government," Zelin told Insider.

It's not yet certain if the individuals charged with informations are necessarily cooperating, or have just agreed to plead guilty without a cooperation agreement. Prosecutors don't furnish the full list of witnesses until shortly before the trial begins.

"Generally speaking, cooperative agreements are sealed, because the very essence of a cooperation agreement is that you are cooperating against someone else," Zelin said. "And the government doesn't want that other defendant to know who the cooperators are."

It looks like some Capitol rioters are taking plea deals and agreeing to sell each other out
Protesters broke into Capitol Building on January 06, 2021.(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

But prosecutors are sure to seek the cooperation of at least some of the 200-plus people charged. Former Justice Department prosecutor Neama Rahman told The Daily Beast it's unlikely for prosecutors to charge someone with an information unless plea negotiations are underway.

"Cooperation is always likely in federal cases, especially here, where the US Attorney's Office has both significant leverage and wants to identify the ringleaders in this sedition conspiracy, as well as other potential domestic terrorist threats," Rahman said. "It's uncommon to have this large of a gathering of political extremists from all across the country, so the government will have a treasure trove of information and witnesses to work with."


Justice Department representatives didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

One of the people charged with an information is Matthew Mazzocco, who was arrested at his home in Texas on January 17 after posting videos of his involvement online. According to court records reviewed by Insider, Mazzocco was first charged with a criminal complaint. On Thursday, he was charged with an information on similar counts, a day before he was ordered to appear in court later this week.

Zelin said that once pleas are formalized, we could have a better understanding of who may be cooperating with prosecutors. People who cooperate are likely to receive lesser charges than those who don't, he said.

"That would give you a little bit more insight as to whether or not someone is actually cooperating," he said. "Because the better the deal is, the more likely it is that what they've given up in return for getting that better deal is cooperating."

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