The ‘blame Trump’ defense in the Capitol riots looks like a long shot

The “Trump-May-Do-It-Defense” defense already sounds like a long shot.

Facing deadly evidence in last month’s deadly capital siege – in which social media posts blame his actions – The rioters are arguing in court that they were following President Donald Trump’s instructions on January 6. But the legal strategy has already been shot by at least one judge and experts believe the argument is unlikely to get anyone off the hook. The uprising where five people, including a police officer, were killed.

U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell recently issued an order saying, “This valid defense, if recognized, would weaken the rule of law because then, like a king or a dictator, the president will direct what is illegal and what is not in this country.” May, ”U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell said in a recent order. William Kristman’s pretrial detention, suspected member of the Kansas City-area chapter of the Boy of Pride. “And that’s not what we’re going to run here.”

Kristman’s lawyers argued in court papers that Trump gave the mob “clear approval and encouragement” to do what they did, providing “competent defense against criminal liability” to those who complied.

“Armed with armed and highly trained law enforcement, it’s amazing to imagine a storm in the United States capital with sticks and flags and bear spray. Just someone who thought they had official support would also try such a thing. And a proud boy who cared so much believed he did, ”Christman’s lawyers wrote.

Trump was acquitted of inciting a mutiny during his second impeachment hearing, where Democrats made some of the same arguments that defense attorneys are making in criminal court. Some Republican lawmakers have said there is even better room in court for the allegations against Trump.

Meanwhile, prosecutors have brought charges against more than 250 people so far in the attack, including conspiracy, assault, civil disorder and obstruction of official proceedings. Officials have suggested that some could face rare treason charges. Hundreds of Trump supporters posted photographs and video tapes of the storm in the Capitol and posted selfies inside the building on social media, so they can’t argue exactly in court that they weren’t there. Blaming Trump may be the best defense they have.

“What better argument than when you send a videotape around the Capitol with a coat rack in your hand?” Sam Shamsky, representing Dashin Thompson, said the Ohio man, who was accused of stealing a coat rack during the riots.

Shamansky said his client would not be in the Capitol on January 6. If Trump “didn’t call them there.” Trump added that he was involved in a “biased but effective conspiracy” by supporters to believe the election had been rigged, putting him in a position where he felt the need to “defend his country at the request of the Commander-in-Chief.”

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

While experts say blaming Trump can’t get their clients off the hook, it can help punish when they seek a judge’s weakness.

“It’s probably a low-key factor that this guy really believed he was just following the instructions of the United States leader,” said Barbara M. Quad, now a professor at the University of Michigan Law School. .

It could also spur any potential lawsuits against the former president, experts say.

“He died on the arrival of the defense,” said Bradley Simon, a New York City white-collar criminal defense attorney and former federal attorney. “But I think these statements by the defendants, which were said to have been drawn by Trump, create trouble for them if the Justice Department or the Attorney General in DC starts investigating allegations of incitement against them.”

When the legal belt is high To prosecute Trump in the Capitol Seas, the former president is already a Democratic rip. Benny is suing Thompson. Who has accused Congress of conspiring with extremist groups to prevent it from certifying election results. And more lawsuits could come.

Trump has been spreading baseless claims about the election for weeks and addressing thousands of supporters at a rally near the White House. Prior to the Capitol riots, they had gathered in Washington to “save our democracy.” Trump later said, “I know everyone here will head to the Capitol Building to hear your voices in peace and patriotism.”

Lawyer for Jacob Chansley, A shirtless man wearing face paint and a cap with horns inside the Capitol, attaches a highlight transcript of Trump’s speech before the court in Chanceley seeking his release from custody. Defense attorney Albert Watkins said the federal government was sending a “disturbingly cooling message” that action would be taken against Americans “if they do what the president tells them to do.”

Defense attorneys have employed other strategies without much success. In one case, the judge described the defense attorney’s portrayal of the riots as merely an allegation or a civil disobedience. Another judge dismissed a man’s claim that he was “fraudulent” in joining an anti-government Oath Keepers group and taking part in an attack on the Capitol.

Other defendants linked to terrorist groups have also tried to shift the blame on Trump’s demand for a release from prison. Attorney for Jessica Watkins A member of the Oath Keepers believes the local military will be prosecuted if Trump calls for the coup law to remain in place. During a court hearing on Friday, Watkins denied the allegations, saying she had been “appealed” by fellow members of the far-right military.

“Nevertheless, despite being misled, his intentions were in no way related to his intention to overthrow the government, but to what he believed to be a legitimate government,” his lawyer wrote.

Meanwhile, Dominic Pazola’s lawyer“He has acted with the misconception that he is a ‘patriot’ defending his country,” said another suspect, Gaurav Boy. Defense attorney Jonathan Zucker described Pazola as “one of the millions of Americans misled by the president’s betrayal.”

“Those who followed his call will spend a significant portion of the rest of their lives in prison for many consequences,” he wrote. “Meanwhile, Donald Trump has turned his life back to luxury and convenience.”