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‘Sedition Panda,’ a Jan. 6 Rioter in a Costume Head, Is Convicted

U.S.‘Sedition Panda,’ a Jan. 6 Rioter in a Costume Head, Is Convicted

A Florida man who breached the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, while wearing a costume panda head was convicted on Friday of assaulting a police officer and other charges related to the events of that day.

The man, Jesse James Rumson, 38, who became known as Sedition Panda, was found guilty of eight total charges, two felonies and six misdemeanors, after a bench trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

He was convicted by Judge Carl J. Nichols, who has garnered his own headlines for challenging the Justice Department’s use of a federal obstruction law to prosecute Jan. 6. rioters.

In a separate case, Judge Nichols, a Trump appointee, dismissed a charge against another Jan. 6 defendant, Joseph Fischer, for violating a federal law that makes it a crime to corruptly obstruct an official proceeding.

The judge dismissed the charge in that case on the grounds that the law strictly concerns white-collar crime, saying that it required a defendant to take “some action with respect to a document, record or other object.” An appeals court reversed the judge’s ruling, and Mr. Fischer successfully brought the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is expected to release a decision this summer.

Prosecutors have invoked the obstruction law against hundreds of rioters, typically in the most serious cases. But prosecutors did not charge Mr. Rumson with violating that law, and Judge Nichols did not appear to have any reservations about the applicability of the charges prosecutors did bring.

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