Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano rebuked Attorney General William Barr reportedly wanting violent protesters charged with sedition, saying Thursday that the action would be both “a bridge too far” and “absurd.”
According to several reports, the attorney general told federal prosecutors last week that they should consider charging protesters who caused property damage during anti-police brutality demonstrations with sedition. Barr also reportedly asked prosecutors to look into bringing charges against Democratic Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan for allowing residents to set up an autonomous zone in the city.
Making his first on-air appearance since he was sued for an alleged sexual assault from 1987—the network has publicly stood by the judge, saying they believe his adamant assertion that the allegations are entirely false—Napolitano was asked by Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt to weigh in on Barr’s recommendations.
“There’s nothing wrong with aggressive prosecution,” he noted. “In fact, in the face of violence in the street that is destroying government property, private property, and injuring individuals, that’s what the government should do.”
Napolitano, however, pushed back on Barr apparently wanting to charge protesters with insurrection against the authority and the government.
“But this is not the case for sedition,” he declared. “The sedition laws which, by the way, go back to 1798, sedition laws written for those who plan and plot to overthrow the government either by violence or some other means. That would be a bridge too far.”
“You can charge these people—first of all, you have to exclude, before you charge them, you have to exclude their constitutional rights, meaning if they’re there expressing an opinion, they can’t be charged,” the judge added.
The longtime Fox analyst, who is one of the rare Trump critics on the president’s favorite network, continued to rip apart the attorney general’s interpretation of the law.
“If their expression of an opinion turns to violence, then they can be charged for the act of violence, for destruction of property, for inciting a riot, for harming individuals, for attacking government buildings,” Napolitano concluded. “But the idea that this is some kind of an organized plot to overthrow the government, there’s no basis for that and it’s absurd.”