Former U.S. Attorney Says 'Terrorism' Charge Appropriate For Capitol Mob

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The word "sedition" has been thrown around a lot this week.

Did a mob of President Trump's supporters commit an act of sedition when they stormed the Capitol building this week? Did Trump himself commit an act of sedition by egging them on beforehand?

One former top law enforcement official says these circumstances may indeed fit the meaning of sedition — in concept: a conspiracy to overthrow the government; in statute: including all efforts to take, seize or possess by force any property of the United States government. But according to Donald Stern, former U.S. attorney for the district of Massachusetts, the "sedition" charge is also tainted by a history of abuse going as far back as our founding fathers.

Stern joined WBUR's Morning Edition to explain why he thinks pressing for charges of domestic terrorism in the case of the mob that broke into the Capitol probably makes more sense, given how the sedition law has been applied as a means of retaliation in the past.

This segment aired on January 8, 2021.

Bob Oakes Senior Correspondent
Bob Oakes was a senior correspondent in the WBUR newsroom, a role he took on in 2021 after nearly three decades hosting WBUR's Morning Edition.


Wilder Fleming Producer
Wilder Fleming produces radio and podcasts for WBUR.



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