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'Kool-Aid' and regret: 1 year later, a North Texas man awaits his fate over the Capitol riot

"He's remorseful. It's certainly not an excuse. But I think he has come to realize he was sold a pack of lies," said the attorney for Richardson's Garret Miller.

DALLAS — With insurrection-related arrests at 725 and counting one year after the assault on the U.S. Capitol, the defense invoked by some of the arrestees refers to what has become a painful colloquialism in American history.

"And if you want to stop this, you have to go after the people who were selling the Kool-Aid," said " Dallas defense attorney Clint Broden.

His reference, the 1978 Jonestown, Guyana deaths of more than 900 people whom cult leader Jim Jones convinced to drink cyanide-laced punch.

His use of the analogy, an attempt to explain the situation of his client, insurrection attendee and current federal prisoner Garret Miller, of Richardson.

"Just going after the people that drink the Kool-Aid isn't going to be good enough to prevent this from happening again," said Broden. 

Miller was arrested two weeks after attending the Washington, D.C. event and was photographed inside the Capitol Rotunda. The FBI said that among his many social media posts that placed him at the Capitol, Miller also threatened to assassinate Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. 

Miller also reportedly wrote that he wanted to use a rope to execute the Capitol police officer who shot and killed Ashli Babbitt, the female protester shot as she tried to climb through the shattered window of a locked door police officers were guarding.

RELATED: Richardson man to remain in federal custody for Capitol riot, death threats

Broden said that Miller now, who issued a written apology and mea culpa shortly after his arrest last January, "isn't drinking the Kool-Aid" anymore.

"He's remorseful. It's certainly not an excuse, but it's an explanation I think," Broden said. "I think he has come to realize he was sold a pack of lies."

"There has always been a lunatic fringe, only now they've somehow moved from the margins into the mainstream," said Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.

And warnings about that fringe, and where he believes it could take the country next, are part of his new book called "It Could Happen Here." 

At the helm of the ADL for the past five years, Greenblatt cites the experiences of his grandfather during the Holocaust to warn readers not to overlook or downplay events like Jan. 6, 2021.

Credit: Jonathan Greenblatt

"We've got to roll up our sleeves and be prepared to fight for it," Greenblatt said of Democracy. 

"Not with guns. Not with weapons. But with the power of ideas and participation. It's up to us, reasonable people on both sides of the aisle, to kind of call out hate when it happens, to identify ignorance and push back with facts, not  with fiction," said Greenblatt. 

"Because I think we've reached a very perilous moment," he said. 

As for this moment, Miller is still in a Washington, D.C. jail, in custody now for almost an entire year, waiting to learn his fate. 

The vast majority of convictions and guilty pleas related to the insurrection have resulted in misdemeanors and probation. But of the 31 felony convictions, the longest jail term was handed out to a man from Florida, who was sentenced to more than five years in federal prison. 

RELATED: One year later, here's a look at the Jan. 6 Capitol riot arrests made by the Dallas FBI field office -- and where the cases stand 

Miller's most serious charges are related to the death threats the FBI culled from his social media accounts. His next court date is scheduled for Jan. 27. 

"Well, the conditions are tough. He's persevering," Broden said, of Miller's time in jail.

"I'm not excusing Garret Miller's behavior and he recognizes that he deserves to be prosecuted," Broden said. "But until you go after the people that are selling the lies, selling the Kool-Aid, this is in danger of happening again."

Despite the more than 700 arrests, the FBI is still asking for help identifying additional suspects. The FBI site can be found here. 

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