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Capitol Rioters Are Now Blaming Trump in Their Court Appearances

todayFebruary 17, 2021 2

Background
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The results of the impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump could benefit those criminally charged in connection with the Capitol Riot.

What We Know:

  • So far, attorneys for at least 7 accused rioters have referenced Trump in efforts to explain their clients’ actions, according to statements and documents. Former U.S Attorney Harry Litman exclaimed that legally blaming Trump would be “difficult, but practically, it makes sense”. Litman continued to explain that blaming Trump is the only smart move for a defendant’s argument. The chess move could create sympathy with jurors and might even require Trump to be subpoenaed. This is considered to be a major logistical obstacle for prosecutors, as the move would slow down cases and force prosecutors to drop to lesser charges.
  • According to Dr. Ziv Cohen, criminal forensic psychiatrist, defendants in Capitol Riot cases are using what is called the “public authority defense”. It’s typically used in law enforcement collaboration cases where a defendant denies criminal liability, essentially pushing the blame on a public authority entity. Unreasonable or excessive use of this defense could lead to a violation and criminal charge.
  • While not far from unreasonable, prosecutors are still using every tool at their disposal to convict the accused. Prosecutors also cited defendants’ pro-Trump social media posts in an attempt to prove the defendants were at the Capitol.
  • The main argument prosecutors of these cases are trying to convince judges is that these people will remain dangerous. Former federal prosecutor Adam S. Fels believes this is because “they’re willing to engage in violent conduct on the perceived instructions of the president of the United States”.
  • Former President Trump managed to be acquitted in his second impeachment trial with only 7 Republicans voting to convict him. Mitch McConnell, for example, voted to acquit Trump on the basis of what he viewed as “a constitutional limitation of impeachment”. In laymen’s terms, McConnell believes the Capitol rioters behaved the way they did because the “most powerful man on Earth” fed them falsehoods.
  • When asked if Trump was responsible for the Capitol Riots, 89% of Republicans replied “no” in a recent poll. Another poll from Quinniac University, released on Monday, claims that 56% of Republicans believe Trump “did everything he could” to stop the insurrection attack. Despite various evidence that would argue the contrary, it appears most republicans are continuing to shrug off Trump’s responsibility for the January 6th attack.

The fate of the Capitol rioters on trial continues to update amidst news of former president Donald Trump’s acquittal from impeachment.

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