A Minnesota state senator put a call out to Facebook followers Friday morning, asking for donations to help a group of Minnesotans charged in the violent Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
"Hi Everyone," the post from Sen. Mark Koran, R-North Branch, which was first reported by the Minnesota Reformer, begins. "Here's a local family in Lindstrom who can use some help. They attended the Jan 6th Rally and have been accused and charged with a variety of crimes."
Koran doesn't identify anyone by name, but links to a fundraising campaign on the site GiveSendGo that appears to be in support of the Westbury family from that town. The organizer says her husband and three of her sons have been charged in connection with the riot, during which an armed mob descended upon the U.S. Capitol as Congress was scheduled to count electoral votes and confirm the results of the 2020 election, prompting a lockdown while lawmakers and aides attempted to hide.
About 140 Capitol police officers were injured in the riot. Two law enforcement officers took their own life following the events of Jan. 6.
Robert Westbury, 62, and two of his sons — Isaac, 19, and Jonah, 26 — all face federal criminal charges in connection with the insurrection. Robert and Jonah are both accused of entering and remaining on restricted grounds, disorderly conduct and demonstrating in a Capitol building.
Isaac Westbury, authorities say, used a law enforcement shield to attack a peace officer and engaged in "physical violence" while on Capitol grounds. A fourth Lindstom man, 35-year-old Aaron James, faces charges similar to those of Isaac Westbury.
Koran, in his Facebook post, says some of the federal criminal charges are "very serious," while others "seem to be just to punish opposing views."
"All I'm asking is that they need assistance to mount a fair defense from an over bearing Dept of Justice. They are a good family!" concludes Koran, who in June hailed the Minnesota Senate for its work on the "preservation of law and order," as well as its support of law enforcement. Last July, Koran shared an image of a quote: "There is no peace or justice without law and order."
A total of 646 people, eight of them from Minnesota, have been charged in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection. About 15% have pleaded guilty.
The fundraiser for the Lindstom family has so far raised $200.
Bring Me The News has reached out to Koran for comment.