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The “Trump made me do it” defense isn’t working out for rioters

“The ‘Trump-made-me-do-it’ defense is already looking like a longshot Facing damning evidence in the deadly Capitol siege last month – including social media posts flaunting their actions – rioters are arguing in court they were following then-President Donald Trump s instructions on Jan. 6. But the legal strategy has already been shot down by at least one judge and experts believe the argument is not likely to get anyone off the hook for the insurrection where five people died, including a police officer. ‘This purported defense, if recognized, would undermine the rule of law because then, just like a king or a dictator, the president could dictate what’s illegal and what isn’t in this country,’ U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell said recently in ordering pretrial detention of William Chrestman, a suspected member of the Kansas City-area chapter of the Proud Boys. ‘And that is not how we operate here.’ Chrestman’s attorneys argued in court papers that Trump gave the mob ‘explicit permission and encouragement’ to do what they did, providing those who obeyed him with ‘a viable defense against criminal liability.'”

“Hundreds of Trump supporters were photographed and videotaped storming the Capitol and scores posted selfies inside the building on social media, so they can’t exactly argue in court they weren’t there. Blaming Trump may be the best defense they have. While experts say blaming Trump may not get their clients off the hook, it may help at sentencing when they ask the judge for leniency. ‘It could likely be considered a mitigating factor that this person genuinely believed they were simply following the instructions of the leader of the United States,’ said Barbara McQuade, a former U.S. attorney in Michigan” – AP.

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