A senior judge for the D.C. district court issued a scathing rebuke on Thursday of those he says are trying to "rewrite history" of the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, writing he has been "shocked" to see some public figures attempt to label the perpetrators of the violence that day as "hostages."
"I have been dismayed to see distortions and outright falsehoods seep into the public consciousness," senior judge Royce Lamberth, an appointee of former President Ronald Reagan with nearly 40 years of judicial experience, said in a written ruling Thursday. "I have been shocked to watch some public figures try to rewrite history, claiming rioters behaved 'in an orderly fashion' like ordinary tourists, or martyrizing convicted January 6 defendants as 'political prisoners' or even, incredibly, 'hostages.' That is all preposterous."
"But the Court fears that such destructive, misguided rhetoric could presage further danger to our country," Lamberth added.
Lamberth's comments came as part of a ruling tied to a sentencing of a Jan. 6 defendant convicted of misdemeanor offenses, James Little, who has sought to argue he's the victim of a political prosecution. Little was initially ordered to be sentenced to 60 days in jail and three years on probation -- Little appealed and federal appeals court sent it back to Lamberth for resentencing even though Little had already completed his incarceration.
Lamberth has presided over many other high-profile Jan. 6 cases including Jacob Chansley, known as the "QAnon Shaman," and Christopher Worrell, the former Proud Boys member who went missing just before he was set to be sentenced for his role in the Jan. 6.
"The Court is accustomed to defendants who refuse to accept that they did anything wrong," Lamberth wrote in response to Little's claims. "But in my thirty-seven years on the bench, I cannot recall a time when such meritless justifications of criminal activity have gone mainstream."
Former President Donald Trump has referred to Jan. 6 defendants as "hostages."
"The J6 hostages, I call them," Trump said at a rally on the eve of the Jan. 6 anniversary this year. "Nobody has been treated ever in history so badly as those people nobody's ever been treated in our country."
While not mentioning Trump or others in the GOP who have used "hostages" rhetoric, Lamberth cited his decades of judicial experience and time presiding over dozens of Jan. 6 prosecutions to "set the record straight."
"The Court cannot condone the shameless attempts by Mr. Little or anyone else to misinterpret or misrepresent what happened," Lamberth said. "It cannot condone the notion that those who broke the law on January 6 did nothing wrong, or that those duly convicted with all the safeguards of the United States Constitution, including a right to trial by jury in felony cases, are political prisoners or hostages."