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Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01) introduced the Matthew Lawrence Perna Act of 2022. The bill ensures that the political persecution that unfolded in the aftermath of January 6 is further impeded by the law.  The bill is named after Matthew Perna, whose unjust treatment by the Department of Justice led to his utter hopelessness and the end of his life.

The legislation makes the following reforms:

·       Prohibits detention for nonviolent political protesters, including the allowance of civil action for any violations

·       Ensures speedy trials for nonviolent political protesters

·       Provides remedies for malicious over-prosecution

·       Limits the use of national security authorities against citizens of the United States

·       Limits the use of national defense or foreign policy justifications as a shield by which the government can deny US citizens’ requests to know whether or not he or she is being surveilled/investigated by his/her own government

·       Includes a Sense of Congress that, for any defendant sentenced for a covered political protest offense, a judge should impose a sentence that is consistent with the minimum sentence provided by the guideline range applicable to the defendant

·       Permits the transfer of venue in the criminal trial of any individual for the commission of the criminal offense in DC

“The Department of Justice’s shameful and unconstitutional treatment of many of the January 6th defendants is a complete corruption of our once-great Justice system,” said Rep. Gohmert.

“The Biden Administration and the FBI would like to have the public believe that Trump supporters pose the greatest threat to our democracy. However, the greatest threat to our Republic is our own government which grossly abuses its power, uses tools for spying on foreign threats to spy on its citizens, and now holds political prisoners.

“Federal prosecutor Michael Sherwin described the strategy of the Justice Department’s response to January 6th as one of ‘shock and awe’, in an absurd comparison to the war on foreign terrorists who threatened our entire way of life following 9/11. Only, the DOJ is not going after foreign jihadists; they’re going after many everyday Americans who love their country.

“Matthew Perna is one such victim. He didn’t hurt anyone. He didn’t damage anything. He simply followed a crowd through opened doors in our Capitol. Yet, he was persecuted mercilessly by our government and media, until he took his own life as his solution to stopping harm the DOJ was doing to family that loved him.

“There were serious and violent crimes committed on January 6, and the Justice Department addressed them with proper concern. However, in pursuing hundreds of non-violent offenders, the justice system implemented Gestapo-like tactics, knocking down doors, dragging Americans out in front of FBI-alerted media who preserved the humiliation on video. There were numerous instances of non-violent prisoners being ordered to be released by judges in their home states, only to have vindictive and politically motivated DC judges override those decisions and keep them behind bars, though it violates the judge’s oath.

“This bill would prevent non-violent political protesters from being detained before trial, ensure a speedy trial, and provide remedies for cases of malicious prosecution. I urge my colleagues to join me in reigning in the massive power of the DOJ and making sure what happened to Matthew does not ever happen again.”

Rep. Gohmert announced the new legislation on Newsmax’s Greg Kelly’s show last night.

The text of the bill can be found HERE.

Author: Press Release


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