Alleged Capitol Rioter Claims “Foxitis” As Defense

In the six months leading up to the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Anthony Antonio spent his days watching Fox News. That habit actually made him ill and compelled him to participate in the riot, his attorney told a D.C. federal magistrate judge on Thursday.

What was his ailment? “Foxitis,” his attorney said. “He became hooked with what I call … ‘Foxmania.’ ”

During the virtual hearing, which devolved into chaos when another alleged Capitol rioter interrupted with obscenities, Antonio’s attorney, Joseph Hurley, claimed that Fox News’s decision to regularly air then-President Donald Trump’s false claims of mass election fraud contributed to Antonio’s decision to participate in the insurrection.

Antonio, 27, turned himself in to police on April 20. He is charged with five crimes tied to the riot that day including: knowingly entering or remaining on restricted grounds, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding and destruction of government property.

During his hearing Thursday, Hurley told U.S. Magistrate Judge Robin M. Meriweather that Antonio had lost his job thanks to the pandemic and moved in with new roommates in Chicago. It was only then that he began watching Fox News religiously, according to Hurley, because his roommates frequently watched the network.

Antonio’s hearing was interrupted when another alleged rioter, who was waiting for his own hearing, interjected repeatedly and spoke over Hurley. Landon Copeland, 33, who is charged with several federal offenses including assaulting officers and throwing a metal fence at law enforcement, went on several obscene tirades.

When Hurley mentioned “Foxitis,” Copeland yelled, “I object.” The Utah native later said, “F— all of you,” “I don’t like you people” and “You can’t come get me if I don’t want you to. The judge ordered Copeland evaluated for mental competency.

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