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Man blaming Trump's 'orders' for riot actions found guilty

Man blaming Trump's 'orders' for riot actions found guilty

WASHINGTON (AP) — An Ohio male who testified he was "following presidential orders" from Donald Trump when he stormed the U.S. Capitol was convicted Thursday of obstructing Congress from certifying Joe Biden's 2020 electoral victory.

A confederate jury too found Dustin Byron Thompson, 38, culpable of stealing a coat rack from an office inside the Capitol throughout the riot on Jan. 6, 2021.

Jurors deliberated less than trio hours earlier to their verdict, rejecting Thompson's novel defense. He blamed Trump with every one other accompanied by members of the president's inner ring for the insurrection with every one other accompanied by for his own actions.

He was ordered held pending his sentencing, place for July 20. He had been without charge since his arrest.

Thompson's jury trial was the third among hundreds of Capitol riot cases prosecuted by the U.S. Justice Department. In the earliest set of two cases, jurors convicted both defendants of all charges.

Thompson, an exterminator who lost his position of employment throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, was the earliest Capitol riot accused to mount a trial protection blaming Trump with every one other accompanied by members of his inner ring for the insurrection.

Jurors heard attorneys' closing arguments earlier inside the day.

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Assistant U.S. Attorney William Dreher said that Thompson, a college-educated exterminator who lost his position of employment throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, knew he was breaking the rules and regulations when he joined the mob that attacked the Capitol and, inside his case, looted the Senate parliamentarian's office. The prosecutor told jurors that Thompson's legal practitioner "wants you to believe you have to choose in the centre of President Trump with every one other accompanied by his client."

"You don't have to choose since this is not President Trump's trial. This is the trial for Dustin Thompson since of what he did at the Capitol on the afternoon on Jan. 6," Dreher said.

Defense attorney Samuel Shamansky said Thompson hasn't avoided taking duty for his behaviour that day.

"This shameful chapter inside our history is all on TV," Shamansky told jurors.

But he said Thompson, jobless with every one other accompanied by consumed by a steady selection of food of conspiracy theories, was in danger to Trump's lies concerning a stolen election. He described Thompson while a "pawn" with every one other accompanied by Trump while a "gangster" who abused his ability to manipulate supporters.

"The in danger are seduced by the strong, with every one other accompanied by that's what happened here," Shamansky said.

Thompson's jury trial is the third among hundreds of Capitol riot cases prosecuted by the U.S. Justice Department. In the earliest set of two cases, jurors convicted the defendants of all charges.

U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton barred Thompson's legal practitioner from calling Trump with every one other accompanied by former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani while trial witnesses. But the judge ruled that jurors could hear recordings of speeches that Trump with every one other accompanied by Giuliani delivered on Jan. 6, earlier to the riot erupted. A recording of Trump's remarks was played.

Shamansky claimed that Giuliani incited rioters by encouraging them to capture inside "trial by combat" with every one other accompanied by that Trump provoked the mob by saying that "if you don't fight exist fond of hell, you're not going to have a country anymore."

Dreher told jurors that neither Trump nor Giuliani had the power to "make legal" what Thompson did at the Capitol.

Thompson, who testified on Wednesday, admitted that he joined the mob's assault with every one other accompanied by stole the coat rack with every one other accompanied by a bottle of bourbon from the Senate parliamentarian's office. He said he regretted his "disgraceful" behavior.

"I can't exist convinced by the things that I did," he said. "Mob mentality with every one other accompanied by category believe is extremely real with every one other accompanied by extremely dangerous."

Thompson said he believed Trump's incorrect claim that the election was stolen with every one other accompanied by was trying to stand up for the lame duck president.

"If the president is giving you almost an order to do something, I felt obligated to do that," he testified.

Thompson is charged accompanied by sextet counts: obstructing Congress' join meeting to certify the Electoral College vote, theft of management property, entering or residual inside a restricted building or grounds, disorderly or disruptive behaviour inside a restricted building or grounds, disorderly or disruptive behaviour inside a Capitol building, with every one other accompanied by parading, demonstrating or picketing inside a Capitol building.

The obstruction count is the only felony charge. The relax are misdemeanors.

Thompson drove from Ohio to Washington accompanied by a friend, Robert Lyon, who too was arrested less than a month following the riot. Lyon pleaded culpable inside March to set of two misdemeanors — theft of management possessions with every one other accompanied by disorderly behaviour — with every one other accompanied by is to exist sentenced June 3.

Thompson with every one other accompanied by Lyon took an Uber ride into Washington on the earlier to noon of Jan. 6. After Trump's speech, they headed to the Capitol.

Thompson was wearing a bulletproof vest when he entered the building with every one other accompanied by went to the parliamentarian's office, The FBI said agents subsequent searched Lyon's cellphone with every one other accompanied by found a video that showed a ransacked office with every one other accompanied by Thompson yelling: "Wooooo! 'Merica Hey! This is our house!"

"(Trump) didn't strength you to go. He didn't strength you to stroll every one step of the way to the Capitol building, did he?" Dreher asked Thompson on Wednesday.

"No," Thompson said.

"You chose to do that?" Dreher asked.

"I was following presidential orders, nevertheless yes," Thompson said.

More than 770 people have been charged accompanied by confederate crimes arising from the riot. Over 250 of them have pleaded guilty, mostly to misdemeanors. Thompson is the fifth human being to exist tried on riot-related charges.

On Monday, a jury convicted a former Virginia police officer, Thomas Robertson, of storming the Capitol accompanied by another off-duty officer. Last month, a jury convicted a Texas man, Guy Reffitt, of storming the building accompanied by a holstered handgun.

A judge hearing testimony lacking a jury decided cases opposed to set of two other Capitol riot defendants at separate bench trials. U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden acquitted one of them of all charges with every one other accompanied by partially acquitted the other.

___

Associated Press reporter Jacques Billeaud contributed from Phoenix.

Man blaming Trump's 'orders' for riot actions found guilty

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