Judge Chutkan’s Tense Exchange With Jan. 6 Rioter’s Defense Team

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan clashed with a defense attorney in heated exchanges before sentencing a Donald Trump supporter to nine months in jail for his role in the January 6 Capitol riot.

Antony Vo was convicted on four trespassing charges related to the unrest in September 2023 and sentenced by Chutkan on Wednesday. Chutkan will also oversee former President Trump’s trial over allegations that he broke the law while attempting to overturn his 2020 presidential election defeat, to which the former president has pleaded not guilty.

On January 6, 2021, hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol as Congress was inside certifying Joe Biden‘s 2020 presidential election victory. In the ensuing violence, Ashli Babbitt, a 35-year-old Trump supporter, was shot dead and over 100 Capitol Police officers were injured.

Reporting on the case in a series of posts on X, formerly Twitter, Scott MacFarlane, a CBS News congressional correspondent, said there were “tense moments” before the sentencing between Chutkan and Vo’s attorney, listed in court documents as Carmen Hernandez.

According to MacFarlane, the “defense tried to get sentencing delayed” and also insisted Vo “did NOT violate the spirit of any conditions of release” by attending a protest in support of January 6 defendants outside a Washington, D.C., jail.

MacFarlane said Chutkan replied, “Are you serious?” before disputing the defense’s claim that the event Vo attended was a “prayer vigil,” insisting he was instead “singing in support for those in pretrial detention for violent crimes.”

He also reported that the defense attorney said it was “creepy” that someone had tipped off the probation office about the demonstration Vo attended.

MacFarlane wrote: “About tipster alerting probation office about Vo attending DC jail Jan 6 protest, defense tells judge ‘I’m an immigrant to this country’…and such an action by a tipster is creepy and ‘it bothers me.'”

He added: “Judge Chutkan says she’s an immigrant too and ‘it doesn’t bother me.'”

According to MacFarlane, the defense attorney also suggested Chutkan was being “more harsh” in sentencing January 6 defendants than other judges, a notion she rejected.

In her ruling, Chutkan said, “I don’t believe Mr. Vo thinks the law applies to him.”

In addition to the nine months in prison, two months less than the prosecutors had sought, Vo was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and will be on supervised release for 12 months after serving his jail sentence.

According to his charging documents, Vo “had multiple conversations, using his Facebook and Instagram accounts, in which he acknowledged being present in the Capitol building on January 6, 2021. To prove his presence to these other people, Vo sent images of himself and his mother in and near the Capitol building.”

January 6 riot photo
Pro-Trump rioters break into the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. There is no suggestion Antony Vo, who was sentenced to nine months in prison for his involvement in the events, is…

Win McNamee/GETTY

During a recent appearance on Real America’s Voice, January 6 inmate Edward Jacob (Jake) Lang said a group of over 78 Capitol riot defendants were launching a class action lawsuit against 21 Capitol Police officers and officials for “millions of dollars in damages.”

Newsweek has not independently verified whether such a lawsuit has been filed.

“I got shot in the foot with a rubber bullet, other people were bludgeoned nearly to death, hit with chemical spray and had long-lasting lung effects and so…we are now serving 21 defendants…Capitol Police officers, Capitol Police officials,” Lang said.

In March, the family of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who died after suffering two strokes following a confrontation with rioters on January 6, criticized Trump for attending the wake of a New York Police Department officer who was shot dead during a traffic stop in Queens.

At the wake, Trump reportedly said “The police are the greatest people we have. There’s nothing and there’s nobody like them. And this should never happen.”