On Friday, Federico Klein, “a 42-year-old former member of the U.S. Marine Corps and [President Trump] appointee to the State Department” will be sentenced for committing eight felonies and some misdemeanors during the January 6, 2021 coup attempt at the Capitol. The Department of Justice is seeking a 120 month (or ten-year) sentence. If that seems severe, consider that Klein committed six separate assaults during the insurrection and is convicted of “assaulting, resisting or impeding [law enforcement] officers.”

Does it make a difference that even the prosecutors concede that Klein sincerely believed that he was fighting to prevent the election from being stolen from Trump?

Klein, prosecutors say, “strongly believed that the 2020 presidential election was ‘stolen’ from former President Trump. So much so that in the weeks after the election, Klein took time off from work at the State Department to volunteer to travel to Las Vegas, Nevada, where he investigated claims of voter fraud. Because of this strong belief and his participation in the volunteer effort, he was also keenly aware of the options available to challenge the election results.”

Being deluded is not a defense for Klein, and it doesn’t appear to even warrant leniency in sentencing, although that is ultimately up to the judge. Could he really spend a decade in prison because he chose to act on his gullibility?

More than 1,100 people have been arrested on January 6-related charges. That number could grow to 3,000 before the statute of limitations runs out in 2026. Roughly 400 people have been incarcerated. I presume nearly all of these folks were acting on the false presumption that Biden stole the election.

But when it comes to Donald Trump, who is solely responsible for deceiving these people because he made a decision not to concede and attempt a coup, it’s supposed to matter somehow whether he sincerely believed there had been election fraud. All this effort is being made to prove that Trump was well-informed that the election was not fraudulent and that he even privately admitted as much.

Maybe this is a problem with our laws which never envisioned a president committing these kinds of crimes, but I prefer the “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander” type of justice. If Federico Klein is going to do up to a decade of hard time in prison for trying (in his mind) to prevent a political coup, then Trump should do at least as much time for attempting one.

Klein is going to pay for the pain and suffering he inflicted on the Capitol Police, but shouldn’t Trump pay the same price? And shouldn’t Trump be held responsible for the pain and suffering he caused to the 3,000 people subject to arrest, the 1,100 that have been arrested and the 400 who have been imprisoned? He ruined their lives because they’ve believed him. They were stupid but that being stupid didn’t save them. Why should being stupid save Trump?

I don’t care what goes on in his rancid mind or what he sincerely believes for ten seconds at a time. He attempted a coup and his sentence should be greater than any other January 6 defendant.

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