Saturday, August 20, 2022

Capitol Rioter From Jackson Co. May Get 5 Months in Jail


Joel Burgess in Asheville Citizen-Times:


Cantwell on Jan. 6th

Federal prosecutors say the former owner of a Jackson County tea house took part in the Capitol riot in one of its "most violent" locations and are recommending a sentence that would be among the harshest of those convicted in the Jan. 6 storming of the country's legislature.

U.S. attorneys for the District of Columbia made the recommendation that Lewis Easton Cantwell be imprisoned for five months, saying in an Aug. 12 sentencing memorandum that he helped a mob as it fought with police in what amounted to a "grave threat" to democracy and an act of "domestic terrorism." Under sentencing guidelines, Cantwell could face up to six months in prison.

If imposed by a judge, the sentence would be one of the longest of those given to 237 "Capitol breach defendants," falling in the top 11%, according to a Citizen Times analysis of a sentencing table submitted by prosecutors….

Cantwell, a 37-year-old Haywood County resident, military veteran and former owner of the Jackson County Sip' Sum kava and tea house in Sylva, signed on to a Feb. 16 plea deal, admitting guilt to one felony charge of obstructing, impeding, or interfering with law enforcement during the commission of civil disorder….

After the riot, Cantwell defended his actions in a Facebook post….

"Oh my goodness before everyone gets their panties in a wad! It is my right to go to any event I want!" Cantwell said in the post. 

Cantwell said he "helped people both police and protesters" and that he was not a domestic terrorist but a "patriot who loves my country I treat people with love and respect I help people in need and I expect that you will be a decent human and understand what and why I did it." …

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