A Washington, DC attorney who volunteered to represent some of the domestic terrorists arrested for their roles in the January 6th insurrectionist attack on the Capitol recommends to her clients that they read history books and the Constitution in the lead-up to their trials.
And as the Washington Post reports, she’s been told by those clients that the Constitution was signed in 1776, and she’s been labeled a traitor, Nazi, communist or worse for her efforts to ensure the insurrectionists get proper legal representation.
Heather Shaner, a 74-year-old Criminal Justice Act panel attorney, put her name into a pool to represent those people charged in relation to the January 6th attacks who needed a lawyer, bu she had one condition: she would not represent anyone accused of injuring a police officer.
The books she has on her reading list range from “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” to “Just Mercy” to “Schindler’s List.” She’ll ask her clients to write a book report. She’ll give them copies of the Constitution or a history textbook, or she’ll recommend watching historically-accurate movies. Her goal isn’t just to put on airs for the judge; it’s a sincere effort to educate them.
For her trouble, she frequently gets phone messages–from both sides of the debate–decrying her methods. Trump supporters will claim she’s trying to brainwash her clients; anti-Trumpers aren’t less harsh.
“I don’t care if she was there for 10 seconds or 10 years,” they say. “Read “Schindler’s List” and then you’re a good person? Bulls—. She was a traitor, and you’re a traitor for representing her. You are disgusting,” one recent caller to her home said. “You should be suspended. I don’t know why you’re even allowed to practice law. You shouldn’t be. No one should be representing traitors to this country. You are disgusting.”
Still Shaner’s methods and practice have become well-known in DC courts, and they’ve shown some measure of success: The first person to be sentenced for crimes relating to the insurrection–one of Shaner’s clients–received no jail time.