Lawyers for at least three defendants accused of the violent siege told the Associated Press that they blamed misinformation and conspiracy theories, most of which were suppressed by then-President Donald Trump, because They have misled their clients. Lawyers say those who disseminate this false information are just as responsible for the violence as those who participated in the actual violation of Congress.
Defendant Anthony Antonio said of Trump: “I’m kind of like the idiot I’m talking about now, but I had faith in him.”
Antonio said he had no interest in politics before his widespread boredom led him to conservative cable news and right-wing social media. “I think they did a great job of convincing the people.”
Since Joe Biden won last year’s presidential election, Trump and his allies have repeatedly claimed that the race was stolen, even if those claims were made by officials on both sides, outside of experts and courts in several states, and by his attorney general. Rejected repeatedly.
In many cases, baseless allegations of vote-rigging, vote-rigging, and corrupt election officials on social media escalated, sparking Trump’s campaign to undermine faith in an election that began long before November.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson wrote Wednesday in a ruling denying the release of a man accused of threatening to assassinate House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:
“A consistent beating that reduced the defendant’s possession of a firearm,” Berman wrote in his sentence of Cleveland Grover Meredith Jr. for detention. “Six months later, the Canadians who stole the election are being repeated every day in the big news media and through the corridors of power in the state and federal governments, although this is not needed in the former president’s almost daily climaxes,” he said. is not.”
The defendants accuse only a fraction of the more than 400 people accused of failing to disrupt Biden’s certification of victory. But their arguments highlight the important role these lies play in inciting insurgency, especially as many top Republicans try to minimize the Jan. 6 violence, and millions more still mistakenly believe that elections Has been stolen.
At least one of the accused intends to make false information a key part of his defense.
Albert Watkins, a St. Louis attorney representing Jacob Chansley, the so-called QAnon shaman, likened the process to brainwashing or falling into the cult’s clutches. Frequent exposure to lies and secretive slogans ultimately affected his client’s ability to discern the truth, Watkins said.
“He’s not crazy,” Watkins said. “People who fell in love with Jim Jones (the cult leader) and went to Guyana, they got married and lived. And then they drank Kool-Aid.”
Similar legal arguments did not acquit Lee Boyd Malo, who joined John Allen Mohammed at the age of 17 in a sniper shooting that killed 10 people in 2002 in John Washington, DC. His lawyers tried to argue that Malo was not responsible for his actions because he had been deceived by the elder Muhammad.
Lawyers for Patti Hurst newspaper’s heirs also unsuccessfully stated that their client had been washed up in a bank robbery after being abducted by the radical group of the Symbian Liberation Army.
“This is not an argument I have won,” said Christopher Slobogin, director of the criminal justice program at Vanderbilt Law School, a psychiatrist and mental health professional.
Slobogin said that unless the belief in conspiracy theories is used as evidence of a larger, detectable mental illness – such as paranoia – we are unlikely to overcome the presumption of jurisdiction.
“I do not blame the defense lawyers for raising this issue,” he said. “You pull out all the stops and make all the arguments you can,” he said. “But just because you have a misconception that you stole the election does not mean you can attack the Capitol.”
“From a mental health perspective, conspiracy theories can influence a person’s actions,” said Zio Cohen, a professor of psychiatry at Cornell University’s Will Cornell Medical College. Cohen, a specialist in conspiracy and radicalization theories, often conducts mental competency tests for defendants.
“Conspiracy theories may lead people to engage in illegal behavior,” Cohen said. “This is one of the dangers. Conspiracy theories erode social capital. They destroy trust in authority and institutions.”
Bruno’s lawyers, Joseph Cua, a 19-year-old man accused of using a police officer outside the US Senate, attributed his client’s extremist remarks to social media before and after the riot. Jonathan Jeffers’s lawyer said Coa “parrots what he hears and sees on social media. Mr. Cua did not come up with the ideas alone. They were fed.”
“The tree of freedom often has to be watered with the blood of tyrants. And the tree is thirsty,” Cua wrote in a parcel sent a day after the uprising.
Kua’s lawyer now describes such a statement as a noise from an influential young man, saying that Kua regrets his actions.
Antonio, 27, was working as a solar panel seller in a Chicago suburb when a pandemic shut him down. He and his roommates watched Fox News almost all day, and Antonio began posting and sharing right-wing content on TikTok.
“Even if he has never been interested in politics before – or even voted in the presidential election – he has said he is involved in fabricating conspiracy theories,” Antonio said.
The court shows Antonio’s record as aggressive and belligerent. According to the FBI, he threw a bottle of water at a Capitol police officer who had been dragged down the stairs of the building, destroyed office furniture, and was captured by police cameras, shouting, “You are at war. Do you want? We won the war.
Antonio, who uses a patch for the far-right militant 3% militia group, has been charged with five counts, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on the Capitol grounds and obstruction of law enforcement during civil unrest.
Antonio’s lawyer, Joseph Hurley, said he would not use his client’s belief in false allegations of electoral fraud to try to acquit him. Instead, Harley uses them to argue that Antonio was an influential figure who was exploited by Trump and his allies.
“You can get this disease,” Harley said. Misinformation is not “defensive,” he said.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of knews.uk and knews.uk does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.