DOJ Seeks to Jail 5 Members of Texas Family for 52-Minute Walk Through the US Capitol on Jan. 6

Joseph M. Hanneman
By Joseph M. Hanneman
October 10, 2022USshare
DOJ Seeks to Jail 5 Members of Texas Family for 52-Minute Walk Through the US Capitol on Jan. 6
Thomas and Dawn Munn of Borger, Texas, with four of their eight children in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (U.S. DOJ/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

The U.S. Department of Justice is seeking to jail five members of a Texas family for their 52-minute walk through the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, under a plea deal for “parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.”

Members of the Munn family of Borger, Texas, did not commit violent acts, damage property, or harass police in the Capitol, but prosecutors argue jail is needed for general deterrence so Jan. 6 never happens again.

Being sentenced on Oct. 12 in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. will be parents Thomas Vincent Munn, 55, and Dawn Marie Munn, 57; with their children Kristi Marie Munn, 30; Joshua Munn, 25; and Kayli Munn, 20.

Prosecutors are seeking 30 days in jail for each parent and 21 days in jail for each of the children. Attorneys for the defendants said probation is the more appropriate sentence. The final decision rests with U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell. Parading is a petty misdemeanor under federal law.

‘This Was Not a Protest’

“The need for general deterrence weighs heavily in favor of incarceration in nearly every case arising out of the violent riot at the Capitol,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Rozzoni. “Indeed, general deterrence may be the most compelling reason to impose a sentence of incarceration. Future would-be rioters must be deterred.

“The gravity of these offenses demands deterrence,” she wrote. “This was not a protest.”

Kristi Munn films protesters from inside a U.S. Senate conference room on Jan. 6, 2021. Her time in the Capitol could cost her 21 days in jail. (U.S. DOJ/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

Rozzoni filed 164 pages of sentencing memoranda justifying the 123 days of jail time for the Munn family. The prosecution is also seeking three years of probation for each family member, 60 hours of community service, and $500 restitution.

According to court records, the Munns took four of their children to Washington D.C. as a civics lesson in election integrity. Another of their children was a minor at the time and was not charged in the case.

It was also a family trip to celebrate two upcoming high school graduations. The family had a “full itinerary” to visit the Lincoln Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery, Dawn Munn said in a letter to the court.

The Munns entered the Capitol at 2:25 p.m. through a broken window next to the Senate wing doors, according to prosecutors. They made their way to the Crypt and later to an area near the Visitor’s Center. A footnote in the sentencing memoranda says, “It does appear from the video that the family helped pick up trash while in the Visitor Center area.”

They next went to Senate conference room S-145, which is considered a “sensitive area” by U.S. Capitol Police. A photo in the sentencing documents shows Kristi Munn using her phone to film a police line and a large crowd outside the conference room window.

Rozzoni faulted the Munns not just for going into the Capitol, but also for their speech before, during, and after Jan. 6.

Dawn Munn posted this to Facebook on Jan. 3, 2021, with the caption: “Monday we load up as a family to stand for all now and future generations to come!” (U.S. DOJ/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

Dawn Munn was cited for bragging on Facebook, “We went in and stormed capital [sic]!” She said in one social post that the media made the Capitol look like “Beirut,” turning the day “into a bunch of lies.”

When asked if she would go into the Capitol again if given the opportunity, defendant Munn responded, “Most definitely,” the DOJ sentencing memo said.

Thomas Munn was criticized for minimizing his participation in the Jan. 6 unrest.

He posted this on Facebook on Jan. 6: “Nothing inside the capital [sic] was damaged. I can tell you, patriots NEVER made it to the chamber. There was no violence in the capital building, the crowd was NOT out of control … they were ANGRY!!!”

The Department of Justice’s 35-page sentencing memorandum for Thomas Munn includes one photo taken inside the Capitol with the notation: “In Figure 3 it appears that defendant Munn is smoking a cigarette.”

Federal public defender Maureen Scott Franco told the court in Thomas Munn’s sentencing memo: “He admits that he was wrong to enter the Capitol Building with the larger crowd that day. It is undisputed that he and his family were only briefly inside the building, engaged in no vandalism or violence, actually attempted to clean up trash they found, and very quickly sought out security so that they could leave.”

Kristi Munn “at least initially … perpetuated a false narrative about the realities of January 6, and did so not only in private messages but on her social media status generally,” the government’s sentencing memo said.

Kristi Munn’s attorney, federal public defender A.J. Kramer, said the decision to enter the Capitol “was not premeditated or even discussed between the family members—when they approached the building and observed others entering freely through an open window, they simply did the same.”

Kayli Munn, a college student, texted a sibling who did not go on the trip “that the march was ‘[Expletive] great! Holy [expletive] we were inside the [expletive] Capitol!”

Before the trip, someone warned Kayli Munn in a private Facebook message not to get arrested. She responded, “No promises,” prosecutors said.

Rapped for ‘False Information’

Joshua Munn told the court in a letter that he didn’t want to go on the trip to Washington D.C., but was talked into it by his family.

The DOJ faulted Joshua Munn for posting “false information” about Jan. 6 on social media.

“After the attack on the Capitol, defendant Munn used Facebook to spread false information that the attack on the Capitol was in some way instigated by law enforcement,” Rozzoni wrote.

The DOJ sentencing memo for Thomas Munn called him out for having a cigarette inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (U.S. DOJ/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

“In speaking to another Facebook user, defendant said, ‘There was no violence from the protesters at all it all came from the police believe it or not’… ‘It was super cool everything was cool till the cop used tear gas that is when people got mad but still never hurt anyone.’”

Joshua Munn has since moved to Wisconsin to live with one of his sisters and has little contact with the rest of the family, the DOJ memo said. His defense attorney said his client has great remorse for being at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

“It must be noted that he did not act violently or maliciously while [in] the Capitol and he never confronted, threatened, or taunted any police officer working there that day,” attorney Richard Stern wrote. “His only contact with any police officer was to ask for directions on how to leave the building.”

The family exited the Capitol through a broken window on the other side of the Senate wing doors at 3:17 p.m. Rozzoni said video evidence suggests the family was told by police to exit through the broken window.

From The Epoch Times

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