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Politics 'Blame Trump' defense in Capitol riot looks like a long shot

18:16  27 february  2021
18:16  27 february  2021 Source:   msn.com

In Capitol riot cases, judges split on whether to keep defendants in jail before trial

  In Capitol riot cases, judges split on whether to keep defendants in jail before trial The Tennessee man covered in black armor who lunged across seats in the US Senate carrying plastic handcuffs during the insurrection at the US Capitol won't walk free as he awaits his court hearings. Neither will the Arkansan who put his feet on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's desk and allegedly had his wife take guns out of the house before his arrest, nor the Alabaman who says he was inspired by God as he walked the floor of the Senate, bleeding. © Win McNamee/Getty Images WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: Protesters enter the Senate Chamber on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC.

The “Trump-made-me-do-it” defense is already looking like a longshot.

FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2021 file photo, Jenny Cudd, a flower shop owner and former Midland mayoral candidate, and Eliel Rosa leave the federal courthouse in Midland, Texas. A federal judge on Friday, Feb. 5, 2021 gave permission for Jenny Cudd, a West Texas flower shop owner charged in last month's riot at the U.S. Capitol to take a work-related four-day trip to Mexico. (Jacob Ford/Odessa American via AP, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2021 file photo, Jenny Cudd, a flower shop owner and former Midland mayoral candidate, and Eliel Rosa leave the federal courthouse in Midland, Texas. A federal judge on Friday, Feb. 5, 2021 gave permission for Jenny Cudd, a West Texas flower shop owner charged in last month's riot at the U.S. Capitol to take a work-related four-day trip to Mexico. (Jacob Ford/Odessa American via AP, File)

Facing damning evidence in the deadly Capitol siege last month — including social media posts flaunting their actions — rioters are arguing in court they were following then-President Donald Trump's instructions on Jan. 6. But the legal strategy has already been shot down by at least one judge and experts believe the argument is not likely to get anyone off the hook for the insurrection where five people died, including a police officer.

Building an effective 9/11 commission for the Capitol riots

  Building an effective 9/11 commission for the Capitol riots An effective investigation must not be swayed by the considerations which properly drive politically-elected officials or the limitations which necessarily constrain state and federal courts. Such investigations are the work of commissioners, not congressmen or courts. Lawmakers from both parties have introduced bills to create one based on the 9/11 commission. A successful commission must have a broad mandate, a bipartisan membership and a threefold emphasis. Specifically, it must address the riot's character as a breakdown of law enforcement, a failure of antiterrorism efforts and a resurgence of fringe hate groups.

“This purported defense, if recognized, would undermine the rule of law because then, just like a king or a dictator, the president could dictate what’s illegal and what isn’t in this country," U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell said recently in ordering pretrial detention of William Chrestman, a suspected member of the Kansas City-area chapter of the Proud Boys. “And that is not how we operate here.”

Chrestman’s attorneys argued in court papers that Trump gave the mob “explicit permission and encouragement” to do what they did, providing those who obeyed him with “a viable defense against criminal liability.”

“It is an astounding thing to imagine storming the United States Capitol with sticks and flags and bear spray, arrayed against armed and highly trained law enforcement. Only someone who thought they had an official endorsement would even attempt such a thing. And a Proud Boy who had been paying attention would very much believe he did,” Chrestman’s lawyers wrote.

Capitol riot: Justice Department is facing a tougher climb trying to keep rioters locked up

  Capitol riot: Justice Department is facing a tougher climb trying to keep rioters locked up The Justice Department is facing a tougher climb as it argues Capitol riot defendants should stay in jail -- with federal judges pressing prosecutors to explain possible inconsistencies in their arguments in some of the most high-profile cases related to the insurrection this week. © Bloomberg/Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images A demonstrator sprays a chemical irritant at law enforcement officers at the U.S. Capitol building during a protest in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. The U.S.

Trump was acquitted of inciting the insurrection during his second impeachment trial, where Democrats made some of the same arguments defense attorneys are making in criminal court. Some Republican lawmakers have said the better place for the accusations against Trump is in court, too.

Meanwhile, prosecutors have brought charges against more than 250 people so far in the attack, including conspiracy, assault, civil disorder and obstruction of an official proceeding. Authorities have suggested that rare sedition charges could be coming against some. Hundreds of Trump supporters were photographed and videotaped storming the Capitol and scores posted selfies inside the building on social media, so they can’t exactly argue in court they weren’t there. Blaming Trump may be the best defense they have.

“What’s the better argument when you’re on videotape prancing around the Capitol with a coat rack in your hand?” said Sam Shamansky, who’s representing Dustin Thompson, an Ohio man accused of stealing a coat rack during the riot.

Critics slam Sen. Ron Johnson for unfounded claim that ‘fake Trump protesters’ led riots: ‘It’s disgraceful’

  Critics slam Sen. Ron Johnson for unfounded claim that ‘fake Trump protesters’ led riots: ‘It’s disgraceful’ Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) made false claims minimizing the damage done by a pro-Trump mob during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.Critics, including some within his party, promptly slammed Johnson over his unfounded suggestions that the Jan. 6 insurrection had been a “jovial” protest and that rioters who stormed the Capitol were not supporters of Donald Trump.

Shamansky said his client would never have been at the Capitol on Jan. 6 if Trump hadn’t “summoned him there.” Trump, he added, engaged in a “devious yet effective plot to brainwash” supporters into believing the election was stolen, putting them in the position where they “felt the the need to defend their country at the request of the commander in chief.”

“I think it fits perfectly,” he said of the defense. “The more nuanced question is: Who is going to buy it? What kind of jury panel do you need to understand that?”

While experts say blaming Trump may not get their clients off the hook, it may help at sentencing when they ask the judge for leniency.

“It could likely be considered a mitigating factor that this person genuinely believed they were simply following the instructions of the leader of the United States,” said Barbara McQuade, a former U.S. attorney in Michigan who's now a professor at the University of Michigan Law School.

It could also bolster any potential cases against the former president, experts say.

“That defense is dead on arrival,” said Bradley Simon, a New York City white-collar criminal defense attorney and former federal prosecutor. “But I do think that these statements by defendants saying that they were led on by Trump causes a problem for him if the Justice Department or the attorney general in D.C. were to start looking at charges against him for incitement of the insurrection.”

'Blame Trump' defense in Capitol riot looks like a long shot

  'Blame Trump' defense in Capitol riot looks like a long shot The “Trump-made-me-do-it” defense is already looking like a longshot. Facing damning evidence in the deadly Capitol siege last month — including social media posts flaunting their actions — rioters are arguing in court they were following then-President Donald Trump's instructions on Jan. 6. But the legal strategy has already been shot down by at least one judge and experts believe the argument is not likely to get anyone off the hook for the insurrection where five people died, including a police officer.

While the legal bar is high for prosecuting Trump in the Capitol siege, the former president is already facing a lawsuit from Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson that accuses him of conspiring with extremist groups to prevent Congress from certifying the election results. And more lawsuits could come.

Trump spread baseless claims about the election for weeks and addressed thousands of supporters at a rally near the White House before the Capitol riot, telling them that they had gathered in Washington "to save our democracy." Later, Trump said, “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”

A lawyer for Jacob Chansley, the shirtless man who wore face paint and a hat with horns inside the Capitol, attached a highlighted transcript of the Trump's speech before the riot to a court filing seeking Chansley's release from custody. The defense lawyer, Albert Watkins, said the federal government is sending a “disturbingly chilling message” that Americans will be prosecuted “if they do that which the President asks them to do.”

Defense lawyers have employed other strategies without better success. In one case, the judge called a defense attorney’s portrayal of the riots as mere trespassing or civil disobedience both “unpersuasive and detached from reality.” In another, a judge rejected a man’s claim that he was “duped” into joining the anti-government Oath Keepers group and participating in the attack on the Capitol.

Military leaders are prepared to defend Pentagon response to Capitol riot at Senate hearing

  Military leaders are prepared to defend Pentagon response to Capitol riot at Senate hearing The Pentagon is ready to defend itself if necessary at a Senate hearing Wednesday against accusations it delayed or hindered the deployment of the National Guard on January 6, a senior defense official said, as two competing narratives emerge about the response to US Capitol riot. © Samuel Corum/Getty Images WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 17: National Guard soldier head to the east front of the U.S. Capitol from the Capitol Visitors Center on January 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. After last week's riots at the U.S. Capitol Building, the FBI has warned of additional threats in the nation's capital and in all 50 states.

Other defendants linked to militant groups also have tried to shift blame to Trump in seeking their pretrial release from jail. An attorney for Jessica Watkins said the Oath Keepers member believed local militias would be called into action if Trump invoked the Insurrection Act to stay in office. Watkins disavowed the Oath Keepers during a court hearing on Friday, saying she has been “appalled” by fellow members of the far-right militia.

“However misguided, her intentions were not in any way related to an intention to overthrow the government, but to support what she believed to be the lawful government,” her lawyer wrote.

Meanwhile, a lawyer for Dominic Pezzola, another suspected Proud Boy, said he “acted out of the delusional belief that he was a ‘patriot’ protecting his country." Defense attorney Jonathan Zucker described Pezzola as “one of millions of Americans who were misled by the President's deception.”

“Many of those who heeded his call will be spending substantial portions if not the remainder of their lives in prison as a consequence," he wrote. “Meanwhile Donald Trump resumes his life of luxury and privilege."

Two months and nearly 300 Capitol riot arrests later, the FBI is hunting hundreds more .
Most of the accused face charges from the Jan. 6 riot that could send them to prison for anywhere from 1-20 years.Investigators who typically work cases involving the trafficking of drugs, child pornography and sex have taken calls from rioter’s angry ex-wives and former girlfriends and employers turned tipsters.

usr: 0
This is interesting!