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“You Don’t Have To Choose” Prosecutor Assures Jury, Trump & Capitol Rioters Can Both Be Guilty

“You Don’t Have To Choose” Prosecutor Assures Jury, Trump & Capitol Rioters Can Both Be Guilty

After Donald Trump left office, there were complaints from January 6th defendants that he’d thrown them under the proverbial bus, leaving them to face charges when they’d believed he would issue pardons to those who came to D.C. to fight for him. Now some are returning the favor, asserting Trump’s guilt as evidence of their own innocence — but prosecutors say it doesn’t have to be one or the other.

TOPSHOT – Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they push barricades to storm the US Capitol in Washington D.C on January 6, 2021. – Demonstrators breeched security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the a 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote Certification. (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP) (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images)

As the New York Times reported yesterday, Dustin Thompson, who is facing charges for being part of the mob that entered the Capitol Building on January 6th, 2021, and for theft of government property in the form of a coat rack and bottle of bourbon, is relying on Trump’s role in the riot as the defense of his own role. He said that he attended the rally where Trump spoke, and that he felt Trump’s “fight like hell” and other statements were tantamount to a directive.

“If the president’s giving you almost an order to do something, I felt obligated to do that,” Thompson told the jury.

However, on Thursday, prosecutors followed this up with instructions to the jury, warning, according to Politico, that the Trump finger-pointing was a mere distraction, and that the task currently in front of them is to determine Thompson’s guilt, not Trump’s.

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Assistant U.S. Attorney William Dreher told the jury that Thompson wanted them to focus on Trump’s actions on January 6th, to the exclusion of his own, and reminded them that Trump is not — today — on trial.

“[Thompson’s attorney] wants you to think you have to choose between President Trump and his client, Mr. Thompson, right? That you can only find that one of them committed a crime that day or that one of them is worse than the other. Ladies and gentlemen, you don’t have to choose.”

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