Chicago cop charged in Capitol riot case can be called an 'insurrectionist' at trial, judge rules

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff and Christine Tressel WLS logo
Wednesday, April 26, 2023
Chicago cop charged in Capitol riot case can be called an insurrectionist at trial
Chicago police officer Karol Chwiesiuk can be called an insurrectionist during his trial for charges in the US Capitol riot, a judge ruled.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The only January 6 riot case against a Chicago police officer, the trial for Karol Chwiesiuk and his sister, Agnes, is moving forward despite a court ruling that would allow them to be called "insurrectionists."

Even though the CPD officer and his sister face misdemeanor charges that they were illegally in the U.S. Capitol on January 6, the government has pressed for the right to say the Chwiesiuks were involved in an insurrection that day. A judge has now agreed.

RELATED: CPD officer charged in Jan 6 attack turns down plea deal from prosecutors

Violent scenes that day led prosecutors to say, "the government should not be required to dilute its language and step gingerly around the events of January 6, 2021."

In CPD officer Chwiesiuk's case, they've told a D.C. court that "What took place on January 6, was in fact a riot and an insurrection."

RELATED: Chicago police officer charged in January 6 attack on US Capitol

In a recent order, a D.C. judge overruled Chwiesiuk's objections to the use of the words "insurrectionist" and "insurrection" and will allow prosecutors to use them during trial.

"Words matter and they matter in a trial," former Chicago federal prosecutor and ABC 7 legal analyst, Gil Soffer, said.

He said it makes sense that defendants would fight to keep those words out of court.

SEE MORE: Sister of Chicago police officer charged in Jan. 6 riot now faces similar charges

"Words like insurrection and insurrectionist carry a lot of weight, pack a lot of punch and are an effective tool that the government can use to really plant in the jurors' minds," said Soffer. "That this is not just a street brawl and it's not an innocent protest, it's something much more serious."

Ana Reyes is the newly named judge on the Chwiesiuks' case. The original judge turned 80 and is now on senior status. So the trial date has been pushed to August 7.

Prosecutors said they don't intend to refer to the Chwiesiuks as "insurrectionists" but at trial the government may well call January 6 an insurrection. The Chwiesiuks' Chicago attorney tells the I-Team they have turned down a plea deal.