If former President Richard Nixon’s top officials could get a fair trial in Washington, D.C. during the time of Watergate, so can a Texas florist who taped herself boasting about entering the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6th.
That is the argument put forward by federal prosecutors against Jenny Cudd, whose defense team recently painted the nation’s capital as a hotbed of “cancel culture” in an attempt to have her client’s case transferred to the Lone Star State.
“Nearly 45 years ago, the en banc D.C. Circuit rejected the argument made by defendant Jenny Cudd here: that based upon ‘the District of Columbia’s voting record in the past two presidential elections[,]’ the defendants could not receive a fair trial in this district and a change of venue was required,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Fretto wrote in the beginning of an 18-page brief. “In that case, the defendants were former high-ranking members of the Nixon administration, and they were charged with crimes arising from the Watergate scandal, which ‘received extraordinarily heavy coverage in both national and local news media.”
The prosecutor was citing the appellate court’s ruling in the case against Nixon’s former chief of staff H. R. Haldeman, who was tried on counts of perjury, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice for his role in the Watergate cover-up. He served 18 months in prison following his convictions.
The fact that roughly 80-percent of Washingtonians voted Democrat did not matter to the D.C. Circuit during the time of Watergate.
That more than 92-percent of D.C. residents voted for President Joe Biden should not matter for bringing pro-Trump rioters to justice, either, prosecutors say.
“As in Haldeman and other heavily publicized cases from this jurisdiction and elsewhere around the country, extensive pre-trial screening and voir dire will suffice to ensure that Cudd receives a fair trial by an unbiased jury,” the government brief states.
Cudd and her alleged accomplice Eliel Rosa were each charged in a five-count indictment with corruptly obstructing, influencing and impeding an official proceeding, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison upon conviction (any sentence in Cudd’s case would most likely be much lighter than that, and it’s possible a number of Capitol rioters won’t get prison time).
The case against Cudd can hardly be described as among the most complicated of the U.S. Capitol riot docket. Cudd recorded herself inside the Capitol, and she then admitted her involvement on the record with the press. Prosecutors note that Cudd granted that interview to a local television station in Midland, Texas, “the very place she seeks to be tried.”
As for the viral video of Cudd boasting about her participation in the Jan. 6th siege, prosecutors note that it is “hardly a confession.”
“I did not break any laws,” Cudd insisted. “I went inside the Capitol completely legally and I did not do anything to hurt anybody or destroy any property.”
Immediately after that remark, Cudd added in a remark left out of the legal brief: “We did break down Nancy Pelosi’s office door, and somebody stole her gavel. And I took a picture sitting in the chair flipping off the camera and that was on Fox News.”
But with hundreds of other accused Capitol rioters on the docket like her, prosecutors note, potential jurors are likely to forget the Twitter footage of old come trial time.
“Cudd provides no reason to believe that, by the time her trial begins, D.C. jurors are likely to be able to remember and distinguish the reporting about her from that involving the many hundreds of other people charged as part of the Capitol Attack,” prosecutors argue. “And even if they could, ‘[p]rominence does not necessarily produce prejudice, and juror impartiality…does not require ignorance.'”
Cudd’s attorney Marina Medvin did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.
Read the brief below:
(Photo via Facebook)
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