Because the variety of folks dealing with costs for the Jan. 6 Capitol riot mounts — the present tally has surpassed 400 — a novel development has emerged of their protection arguments: that former President Donald Trump is accountable for their actions, not them. Whereas it’s ineffective as an outright protection, attorneys say it may act as a mitigating issue going into sentencing or plea offers.
One of many highest-profile examples of that is Jacob Chansley, the so-called “QAnon Shaman.” Choose Royce Lamberth has rejected the notion that Trump’s affect may absolve Chansley of accountability, even when he accepted the argument as honest.
“Even taking defendant’s declare at face worth, it doesn’t persuade the Courtroom that defendant wouldn’t pose a hazard to others if launched,” Lamberth about Chansley’s case. “If defendant actually believes that the one motive he participated in an assault on the U.S. Capitol was to adjust to President Trump’s orders, this reveals defendant’s incapability (or refusal) to train his unbiased judgment and conform his conduct to the legislation.”
That hasn’t stopped protection lawyer Albert Watkins from trying to melt his shopper’s picture, noting with frank language that Chansley has Asperger’s syndrome.
“Quite a lot of these defendants — and I’m going to make use of this colloquial time period, maybe disrespectfully — however they’re all [expletive] short-bus folks,” he advised Speaking Factors Memo. “These are folks with mind injury, they’re [expletive] retarded, they’re on the goddamn spectrum.”
The protection additionally typically notes publicity to right-wing media comparable to Fox Information, with one defendant claiming a case of “foxitis.”
“However they’re our brothers, our sisters, our neighbors, our coworkers — they’re a part of our nation. These aren’t unhealthy folks, they don’t have prior felony historical past. [Expletive,] they had been subjected to four-plus years of goddamn propaganda the likes of which the world has not seen since [expletive] Hitler,” Watkins mentioned.