U.S. Rep. Ken Buck responds to GOP claims of Jan. 6 detainees as political detainees

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, a Windsor Republican, pushed back on claims from within his own party recently that defendants in cases tied to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the nation’s Capitol were being especially mistreated.

The secretary of the Colorado GOP, Anna Ferguson, sent a petition out last month through the party’s email distribution that accused the federal government of violating the Constitutional rights of people accused of participating in the deadly Jan. 6 attack. The petition referred to the attack, in which rioters broke into the Capitol while lawmakers certified President Joe Biden’s election, as an “incident.”

Buck, a former chair of the state Republican Party, shot down the petition’s claims in a four-page letter that included footnotes. His letter is dated Friday but was distributed on the same Republican Party email list Tuesday.

“It is irresponsible to allege without evidence, as your letter does, that Americans are being systematically denied their most basic Constitutional rights based on their political beliefs,” Buck wrote.

Prior to being elected to Congress, Buck served in the U.S. Department of Justice as a prosecutor, in the Colorado U.S. Attorney’s office and as Weld County District Attorney.

The petition accused the government of holding people accused in the Jan. 6 attack without bond or even charges, and of denying them medical treatment and access to their attorneys. It calls the country a “despotic, tyrannical, banana republic.”

Buck rebutted the accusations point-by-point: That those still in custody ahead of their trials are facing felony charges and that most of those people are accused of assaulting a law enforcement officer; that people being held without bond are charged with felonies and most defendants were released on their own recognizance; that the Washington, D.C., jail — while “a miserable place, rife with abuse and dangerous for even the most hardened criminal” — is not especially worse for Jan. 6 defendants; and that courts have been making accommodation for detainees to ensure they have enough time to meet with their lawyers ahead of trial.

He called it “inappropriate to suggest that these defendants are being singled out for their political views.”

“More importantly, it is sad that Republican leaders are misdirecting the energy and resources of Republican activists at a time when this country is facing crises after crises as a result of the failed policies of the Biden administration,” Buck wrote.

Colorado Republican Party chair Dave Williams, who rejects the validity of the 2020 presidential election despite dozens of court cases to the contrary, did not respond to requests for comment on Buck’s letter.

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