Brian Moran, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Washington, is denying a report that U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr asked federal prosecutors to consider criminal charges against Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan for allowing a police-free protest zone.
“At no time has anyone at the department communicated to me that Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is, was, or should be the subject of a criminal investigation or should be charged with any federal crime related to the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP),” he said on Wednesday. “As U.S. attorney I would be aware of such an investigation. “
His comments came after The New York Times reported that Barr asked prosecutors in the Justice Department’s civil rights division to explore whether they could bring criminal charges against Durkan for allowing some residents to establish the police-free protest zone near the city’s downtown for weeks this summer.
A spokesman for the Justice Department said Barr did not direct the civil right division to consider the idea.
Fox News reported that Durkan called the Times story "chilling.” She claimed it revealed “the latest abuse of power from the Trump administration."
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reported that Barr told U.S. attorneys last week to use federal charges when prosecuting people accused of protest-related crimes.
Barr reportedly also presented a list of charges under the sedition law. But legal experts said using those charges would require proof of a conspiracy to attack government agents.