Herculean legal effort underway in Capitol attack case against Illinoisans and others charged

Naperville, Posen residents among latest to be charged in Jan. 6 riot
CHICAGO (WLS) -- It's been 10 months since a huge, violent mob crashed the U.S. Capitol after a Donald Trump rally in D.C. Newly filed court records in the most recent Illinois case against a pair from suburban Chicago reveals the growing collection of evidence by federal prosecutors and the challenge to make sure that evidence is accessible to the hundreds of people charged so far.

From the moment violent insurrectionists broke into the Capitol on January 6, an evidence train started chugging for the FBI and federal prosecutors. It is now the nation's largest-ever criminal investigation.

For months, authorities have sorted through security cameras and social media posts identifying those they say were criminally responsible for the breach and Capitol takeover.

Dawn Frankowski from Naperville and David Wiersma of Posen are the latest Illinoisans arrested and charged in the attack.

In new court papers filed in their case, the government provides a detailed account of the magnitude of evidence they have collected so far: "Several hundred thousand FBI records" spanning almost 700 defendants. There are so many files, photos, and videos that federal prosecutors say it will be the end of January 2022 before it will even be available to attorneys for those charged.

According to federal authorities, jailed January 6 defendants are on inmate waiting lists to view some of the evidence on prison computers. Defense teams are using a password-protected website to sort through the inventory available so far.

Unlike most criminal cases, since January 6, the feds have been gathering pieces of evidence daily, by the thousands, including aerial surveillance images to geo-location records from cell service providers.

As the I-Team has reported the past few months, a sizable portion of January 6th defendants have already pleaded guilty. More than 125 have pleaded guilty and that list is also growing. In the latest Illinois case against Frankowski and Wiersma, the judge has set a December 16th deadline for a plea agreement, prior to their next court appearance a few days later. So far, no deals have been filed.
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