Ohio man who argued he was ‘led’ by Trump to join Jan. 6 Capitol riot convicted on all counts

Washington – After less than three hours of deliberation, a Washington, D.C. jury found Dustin Thompson guilty of multiple charges stemming from his participation in Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol Assaultincluding obstructing Congressional certification of Electoral College votes and stealing liquor and a coat rack from the Capitol building.

He likely faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

The Ohio man was first charged in the weeks following the capitol breach with co-defendant Robert Lyon. Investigators say they traveled to the Washington area together before the attack and then took an Uber to former President Trump’s “Save America” ​​rally in the heart of the city.

Dustin Thompson, charged with Jan. 6, seen Jan. 6, 2021 at the United States Capitol.

Government exhibition

Thompson reportedly donned a Trump 2020 winter hat and bulletproof vest, as he and Lyon marched toward the Capitol, joining the crowd as they stormed the building. Thompson was later charged with stealing a coat rack and a bottle of bourbon. Following the riot, court documents alleged that U.S. Capitol Police officers arrested the couple. Thompson fled the scene, but Lyon “was cooperative and did not attempt to flee,” according to the charging documents.

Last month, Lyon pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts on a superseded indictment; each count carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison. He has not yet been sentenced.

But Thompson chose a different legal strategy, fighting the charges that ultimately landed him in front of a jury. He did not deny participating in the breach and instead maintained that at the time he believed Trump’s speech near the White House authorized his actions.

During that rally, Trump used inflammatory language like “fight like hell” and told the crowd he would join them in marching to the Capitol to challenge the 2020 election results.

“It is difficult to imagine a more stark instance than the President of the United States directly ordering an individual to engage in the precise conduct for which he is next charged,” Thompson’s legal team argued in briefs. pre-trial. His lawyers even asked the court for permission to call the former president and his allies as witnesses in the trial.

“Mr. Trump and his conspirators engaged in a concerted effort to mislead the public, including the defendant, into believing that American democracy was at stake if Congress were allowed to certify election results,” they said. they argued.

But Judge Reggie Walton, who oversaw the jury trial, denied Thompson’s request that Trump testify, saying it would be “inconceivable” for Trump or his allies who spoke at the timeskip on Jan. 6 to admit ordering the crowd to commit acts of violence. .

“Doing so,” the judge wrote last month, “could result in criminal charges against them.”

Instead of Trump’s testimony, however, Thompson’s defense attorney, Shamuel Shamansky, played for the jury the former president’s entire speech that day, later calling the riot ” shamelessly” and comparing Trump to a “gangster”.

“I’m going to ask you in your heart and in your head to do the right thing,” he said Thursday, imploring the jury to believe his client truly believed he was acting on Trump’s orders.

Thompson also testified in his own defense.

But prosecutors were able to convince the jury to separate the former president’s words from Thompson’s alleged crimes.

The defense, prosecutors said, “wants you to think you have to choose between President Trump and his client, Mr. Thompson…that you may find out that one of them committed a crime that day.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, you don’t have to choose because this is not President Trump’s criminal trial.”

After the jury convicted Thompson on all six counts, Walton ordered Thompson jailed pending a sentencing date in July.

“His conduct in my view was reprehensible,” the judge said Thursday, “He must be doing some time.”

Thompson was then stripped of his tie, belt, phone, wallet and suit jacket before being handcuffed from behind and taken out of the courtroom into federal custody.

He is the third defendant on Jan. 6 to be convicted by a jury on all counts. Two other defendants, Couy Griffin and Matthew Martin, were partially and fully acquitted of their misdemeanor charges after opting to stand trial before a judge instead of facing a jury.

Thompson will be sentenced on July 20.

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