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U.S. Attorneys warn demonstrators ahead of inauguration: Any violence at Texas State Capitol will be vigorously prosecuted

Anyone arrested for looting, violence or any other crimes related to protests on or around inauguration day will be taken into federal custody, officials say.

BEAUMONT, Texas — U.S. attorneys are warning demonstrators of the consequences that will be enforced if any crimes are committed at the Texas State Capitol ahead of the upcoming presidential inauguration.

According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Texas, anyone arrested for looting, violence or any other crimes related to protests on or around inauguration day will be taken into federal custody.

U.S. Attorneys Gregg Sofer, Ryan Patrick and Prerak Shah of the Western, Southern and Northern Districts of Texas joined Attorney Stephen J. Cox in a joint statement released Wednesday.

“The First Amendment is a cherished right and bedrock principle of our great nation,” said Cox. “Those who intend to commit crimes at the Texas State Capitol, rather than peacefully demonstrate, can expect to be met with a swift response by law enforcement and prosecution by our office.”

The announcement comes a day after Texas lawmakers met for the 87th Session of the Texas Legislature and a week after the deadly riot at the US Capitol

"The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Columbia is prosecuting those that have been or will be identified as allegedly committing crimes during the riots last week," the release says.

RELATED: Texas Capitol grounds in Austin reopen after closing due to US Capitol riot

News release from U.S. Attorney’s Office..

The U.S. Attorneys representing the four districts in Texas have announced their intent to prosecute any crimes committed at the state capitol or otherwise in violation of federal law ahead of upcoming presidential inauguration.

“The First Amendment is a cherished right and bedrock principle of our great nation,” said United States Attorney Stephen J. Cox. “Those who intend to commit crimes at the Texas State Capitol, rather than peacefully demonstrate, can expect to be met with a swift response by law enforcement and prosecution by our office.”

U.S. Attorney Cox joins his counterparts – U.S. Attorneys Gregg N. Sofer and Ryan K. Patrick and Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah of the Western, Southern and Northern Districts of Texas, respectively – to warn those planning to cross state lines to commit crimes in Texas or at the state capitol.

As the chief law enforcement officers in each of the federal districts, the U.S. Attorneys will be working with federal, state and local law enforcement throughout the state to aggressively identify crimes that violate federal law. The plan is to ensure that anyone who is arrested for committing looting, violence or any other crime related to protests or similar events on or about inauguration day will be processed and held in federal custody pending further criminal proceedings.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) in the District of Columbia (DC) is prosecuting those that have been or will be identified as allegedly committing crimes during the riots last week. The Texas U.S. Attorneys will also be working with Department of Justice (DOJ) officials and necessary law enforcement in those prosecutions. Any questions regarding those matters should be directed to DOJ Office of Public Affairs or to the USAO in D.C.

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