A federal judge has dismissed a former Natick wife’s claim that federal charges against her related to the U.S. Capitol insurrection were discriminatory and based on her conservative views.
Suzanne Ianni, former member of Natick Town Meeting, is charged with entering and remaining in a building or land with restricted access, disorderly or disruptive conduct in a building or land with restricted access and disorderly conduct in a building of the Capitol, according to court documents.
Ianni was arrested after being found on the Super Happy Fun America Facebook page. The Page promoted his trip to Washington DC in a January 4, 2021 post and Ianni was listed as a contact person to register for bus transportation along with his phone number.
Ianni argued that her charges should be dismissed because she “is discriminated against because of her political views”, according to court documents.
Ianni pointed to the history of protests on Capitol Hill and the tendency for protesters to be arrested for violating local codes and given the option of paying a small fine, without having to face federal charges.
She cited protests during Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing in October 2018, where more than 200 people were arrested and a single protester appeared to have his case continued in US District Court. United. She also cited the number of times actress Jane Fonda and others have been arrested for participating in climate change protests without facing federal charges.
“Each of these cases involved protesters advocating for causes typically associated with politically liberal beliefs,” Ianni explained, “These various examples indicate a consistent and established practice of dealing with political protests on Capitol Hill within DC’s local justice system. and without seeking conviction even for notorious and repeat offenders.
United States District Judge Carl Nichols denied Ianni’s motion to dismiss the charges against her.
In a decision filed in early April, Nichols argued that Ianni was not “in the same situation” as the protesters in the cases she cited. Nichols said previous protesters had entered the US Capitol legally or demonstrated outside the building.
The other protests also did not “target a procedure mandated by the Constitution and established to ensure a peaceful transition of power,” he said.
The circumstances of the protest in which Ianni participated set it apart from other protests, according to Nichols, including entering the Capitol when it was closed to the public, being part of a very large protest, being among a crowd in which other were aggressive or violent. and target a very sensitive congressional procedure.
“Certainly there are aspects of Ianni’s conduct which may be similar, or perhaps less problematic, than the conduct in some of the examples to which Ianni refers,” Nichols wrote, “But when put in the context of the events of January 6, 2021, her conduct is not sufficiently similar to the examples she points to for her to meet the fair standard of proving discriminatory effect.
Ianni’s attorney, Henry Fasoldt, said The Boston Globe that they will not appeal Nichol’s decision and that on the next court day, May 27, Ianni will decide whether she should stand trial or plead her case.
Ianni traveled to Washington D.C. on January 6, 2021 to support Donald Trump, according to his motion for removal, she was marching with protesters outside the Capitol and “as the day progressed, she followed the crowd and entered the United States Capitol building. ”
Video of the group of Ianni meeting officers in the building shows her raising her arms in the air as others speak to officers, she said.
“She didn’t hit anyone. She didn’t damage anything. She left when she was told to,” the motion to dismiss states.
Nichols has confirmed that Ianni is not accused of engaging in violent behavior.