For the first time, court papers have revealed that prosecutors asked at least one Capitol rioter about whether former President Donald Trump was part of an “organized conspiracy” to prevent Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s election victory. Over the past year, the Justice Department has kept quiet about whether it’s investigating Trump’s role in the riot. But, on Tuesday, The New York Times obtained court papers showing prosecutors asked Brandon Straka—a ex-hair stylist turned right-wing media darling who pleaded guilty to Capitol riot charges—about Trump’s alleged involvement. Straka’s lawyer, Bilal Essayli, wrote in his client’s sentencing memo that, in an interview with prosecutors, “the government was focused on establishing an organized conspiracy between defendant, President Donald J. Trump, and allies of the former president to disrupt the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6.” Essayli went on to note that Straka “denied the existence of any such plot.” The U.S. attorney’s office in Washington declined to comment on the Times report.
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