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Background: Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., stops to look at the damage in the early morning hours of Jan. 7, 2021, after insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in Washington. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File./Inset: Rioters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

Hundreds of Jan. 6 convictions later, only 15% of nearly $3M to repair Capitol repaid by defendants: Report

Background: Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., stops to look at the damage in the early morning hours of Jan. 7, 2021, after insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File.) Inset: Rioters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File.)

A little over three years later, a new report this week notes that just 15% of the roughly $3 million in damages to the U.S. Capitol done on Jan. 6, 2021, has been repaid by defendants under court orders.

The CBS News report on the status of restitution for the damages — which also encompasses injury to police officers who defended the Capitol, not just broken windows, doors or other destruction — was published Thursday. It also cites an anonymous congressional source who said that just $437,000 thus far has been repaid to the Architect of the Capitol.

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    A Justice Department status update published in May marking the 40 months since the attack on the Capitol pointed out that so far, there have been at least 1,424 arrests and at least 884 defendants sentenced.

    But, according to CBS reporter Scott MacFarlane, with the restitution orders on defendants hovering around $500 to $2,000 each, payments toward the damages they caused have been slow, meaning that U.S. taxpayers are the ones mostly on the hook. The outlet reported Thursday that its review turned up some instances where Jan. 6 defendants were allowed to make monthly installments in small increments. One defendant is paying $250 a month; others aren’t paying yet at all because they are still in prison.

    In addition to the sweeping damages done to the interior and exterior of the Capitol by the mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters on Jan. 6, there were also 140 police officers injured.

    Windows were smashed, offices were ransacked and the building was vandalized. Walls were smeared with feces and rioters also urinated in the hallways. Furniture was destroyed, as was expensive metal fencing. Antique lanterns were ripped up and porticos were destroyed. Murals were defaced and the clouds and spray of bear repellents, pepper spray and other chemical irritants deployed by rioters and police defending the Capitol, caused significant damage.

    During the seditious conspiracy trial of leaders of the Proud Boys extremist group last March, U.S. Capitol Police officers testified about the extensive damage done, for example, to the Columbus Doors at the Capitol’s east entrance. The hand-sculpted bronze doors from 1863 are 17-feet high and weigh 20,000-pounds but police said as the mass of rioters forced their way inside, at one point, the inner set of doors were ripped off their hinges. Police said they were forced to take all of the iron benches or anything that wasn’t bolted down and put it into a cubby hole between the inner and main Columbus doors to keep them from swinging open. One officer said they clung to a push bar on the door with their fingertips to keep it closed but as soon as someone on the outside grabbed the handle, they had leverage.

    The likelihood that all damages will be repaid in full is low to zero. Explaining the restitution process on its website, the Justice Department already notes that “realistically … the chance of full recovery is very low.”

    “Many defendants owe very large amounts of restitution to a large number of victims,” the website states. “While defendants may make partial payments toward the full restitution owed, it is rare that defendants are able to fully pay the entire restitution amount owed.”

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