Attorney for Jan. 6 defendant argues that Trump ‘authorized’ followers to 'storm the Capitol'

Attorney for Jan. 6 defendant argues that Trump ‘authorized’ followers to 'storm the Capitol'

Many of the defendants who are facing federal charges in connection with the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol Building have agreed to plea bargains with federal prosecutors for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). But some have opted for jury trials, including Dustin Thompson — who is facing six charges. And a defense attorney for Thompson, NBC News reports, is arguing that former President Donald Trump “authorized” the Capitol invasion by convincing “vulnerable” people like Thompson that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

The charges that Thompson, a 38-year-old Ohio resident, is facing include interrupting an official proceeding and stealing government property, including a coat rack and a bottle of liquor. His co-defendant, Robert Lyon, entered a guilty plea in March.

On Tuesday, April 12, NBC News’ Ryan J. Reilly reports, Thompson’s attorney, Samuel Shamansky, “told jurors…. that his client had ‘snatched the coat rack, foolishly,’ and that there was ‘no question’ that his client took part in the ‘horrible’ event on January 6 that interrupted a ‘solemn and sacred proceeding.’”

Shamansky told jurors that the “genesis” of the January 6, 2021 attack started months before that and that Trump “authorized this assault.”

“It was a plot, it was a scheme, it was a conspiracy.... that began at the highest levels of our government,” Shamansky told jurors. Thompson and other Trump supporters, Shamansky said, “believed the lies that were fed to them.”

The term “the Big Lie” is often used to described Trump’s false claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him. The widespread voter fraud that Trump and his allies alleged was a figment of their imagination, and countless recounts have confirmed that now-President Joe Biden won the election decisively — picking up 306 electoral votes and defeating Trump by more than 7 million in the popular vote.

Shamansky said of Trump’s voter fraud claims, "This is the garbage that Dustin Thompson is listening to. Donald Trump encouraged people like Dustin Thompson to storm the Capitol.”

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