Everyone remembers Jake Angeli, the “the QAnon shaman” who participated in the January 6 insurrection wearing bison horns and carrying a spear, and Stewart Rhodes, the militia leader with the eyepatch who just last week was convicted of sedition in connection with the violence at the Capitol. Fewer people might recognize the Munns, a family based in the small panhandle town of Borger, Texas, five of whom—father, mother, son, and two daughters—were indicted for entering the Capitol that day. Who are they, and why don’t we know more about them? Why, indeed, don’t federal prosecutors? Robert Draper investigates:

“American Family Needing Help,” blared the title of the GiveSendGo account established by one of the Munn daughters in the summer of 2022. The web page included a lengthy elucidation by Tom of how he had tried to instill in his children his deep commitment to the Constitution, often focusing on the First Amendment. He wrote that the 2020 election results had left him doubting the process. Following what he termed “a frustrating display of political maneuvering, to obstruct the verification of the vote,” Tom “felt compelled to let my voice be heard and obligated to demonstrate to my children, the vital importance of doing so.” He described a Gestapo-like raid by armor-clad federal agents on his peaceful home. He said that his family had lost friends and now struggled to find work. 

Tom’s synopsis of the family’s legal predicament was misleading at best. “Having no other ‘real’ recourse, we accepted the ‘plea deal’ offered by the prosecution,” he wrote. In truth, each of the Munns were provided free legal counsel from the federal public defender’s office. The children, beginning with Josh, eventually indicated their willingness to plead guilty. Though Tom and Dawn waited ten months to acknowledge their guilt, they offered no legal challenge to their indictment at any point. 

When the GiveSendGo page went live, Tom lamented that the Munns lacked the means to travel to Washington for their sentencing hearing in October, and as a result, “we are greatly fearing being held in contempt of court,” he wrote. This appeal, which raised the Munns more than $33,000 in donations, evoked a familiar trope, that of a patriotic and Trump-loving American family suffering under the bootheel of a deeply partisan criminal justice system.