NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy sent a letter to the Department of Justice demanding answers on how a man found guilty of setting a fire during the George Floyd riots that led to the death of a father of five was given a soft sentence.
“It would appear that Mr. Lee is enjoying the benefits of kid-gloved, preferential treatment in this case because he committed violence in furtherance of the preferred political views of your office and the current administration,” Roy wrote in his letter to the Office of the Deputy Attorney General on Wednesday, which was obtained by Fox News Digital,
Montez Terriel Lee Jr. was convicted of arson after setting a Minneapolis pawnshop on fire in 2020, which resulted in the death of Oscar Stewart. Stewart was the father of five children and was still inside the pawnshop when the flames raged on May 28, just days Floyd’s death when riots raged.
“F–k this place. We’re gonna burn this bitch down,” Lee said in a video as the pawnshop burned, according to a criminal complaint.
Prosecutors argued that Lee be sentenced to 12 years in prison, despite federal guidelines suggesting he serve 20.
U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina Wright ultimately sentenced Lee to 10 years in prison, with three years of supervised release. Wright has been floated as a replacement for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.
Roy’s letter pointed out that the sentencing brief described Lee as feeling “angry, frustrated, and disenfranchised” after Floyd’s death and that his actions were “to give voice to those feelings.”
“The United States Attorney’s Office in Minnesota filed a sentencing brief that read exactly like the defense lawyers’ brief. Citing all of the events of the summer, completely offsetting the dead father of five, with a store burned to the ground during mob violence rule in the summer of 2020,” Roy said on the House floor on Wednesday.
Lee also had prior convictions, including burglary, assault, violation of a no contact order, and theft of property, and was still under a sentence for a previous crime at the time of this offense, Roy said.
“This is a man that clearly has no respect for our laws,” wrote Roy. “Yet your office took pains to explain away and justify his actions.”
Roy’s letter was addressed to W. Anders Folk, who served as acting United States attorney for the District of Minnesota until November of last year, when he became senior counsel for the Justice Department’s deputy attorney general.
“Lo and behold, that acting United States attorney a few months later is now working at main Justice. Sure like to know why. Sure like to know who was involved. Sure would like to know who made the calls. Sure would like to know from the current acting United States attorney if that acting United States attorney agrees with the sentencing recommendations of the so-called prosecutors in the Minnesota U.S. attorney’s office,” Roy said on the House floor.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also issued a scathing letter accusing the Justice Department of taking a “startling turn for the worse” under the Biden administration for the lenient sentence, while Sen. Tom Cotton wrote to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding answers on Lee’s prosecution.
“Showing leniency toward a career criminal who committed murder is bad enough,” Cotton wrote. “But justifying the murder because the career criminal shares the Biden administration’s politics is beyond the pale. The American people deserve to know whether leniency for left-wing murderers is the official policy of the Biden Department of Justice, or whether this travesty was a one-off…”
Fox News’ Jessica Chasmar contributed to this report.