A man claims to be following Trump's orders, which were found guilty in the Capitol revolt

A man claims to be following Trump's orders, which were found guilty in the Capitol revolt ...

WASHINGTON A Ohio man accused, he said, following Presidential orders from Donald Trump when he stormed the US Capitol, was quickly found guilty Thursday of obstruction to the Senate's election confirmation of Joe Biden's 2020 election victory.

Dustin Byron Thompson, 38, was found guilty of five other offenses, including theft of a coat rack from an office inside the Capitol on January 6 of last year. The maximum sentence for the obstruction count, the lone felony, is 20 years in prison.

Thompson's new defense was rejected by jury, in which he blamed Trump and other presidents' inner circle for the insurrection and for his actions.

The prosecution was not purchased by the judge, though Trump put his own blame in Trump's direction after the verdict was announced.

I believe our democracy is in depreciation, said district judge Reggie Walton, adding that charlatans like Trump don't care about democracy, just about power.

"And as a result of that, it's tearing our country apart," a judge said.

Prosecutors did not ask for Thompson to be detained immediately, but Walton ordered him held and he was placed on administrative leave. The judge said he didn't believe Thompson's story, believed him as a flying danger, and he was indecent to the public. Sentencing is set for July 20.

The third of hundreds of Capitol riot cases prosecuted by the US Justice Department was trialled by Thompson. In the first two cases, jurors found both defendants guilty of all charges.

Thompson, an exterminator who lost his job during the COVID-19 epidemic, was the first Capitol riot defendant to build a trial defense accused of blaming Trump and other members of his inner circle for the insurrection.

Early in the day, jurors heard the closing arguments of the attorneys.

Thompson, a college-educated exterminator who died in the COVID-19 explosion, was aware when he joined the terrorist group that targeted the Capitol and, in his case, looted the Senate parliamentarian's office. The prosecutor told jurors that Thompson's lawyer "wants you to think you must choose between President Trump and his client."

"You don't have to choose because this is President Trump's trial. This is Dustin Thompson's trial because of what he did on January 6 at the Capitol," Dreher said.

Thompson has not avoided taking responsibility for his conduct that day, according to defense attorney Samuel Shamansky.

"This shocking chapter in our history is all on TV," Shamansky told jurors.

Thompson, who is unemployed and suffocated by a steady diet of conspiracy theories, was sensitive to Trump's statements about a stolen election. He described Thompson as a "pawn" and Trump as a "gangster."

"The weak are slain, and that's what happened here," Shamansky said.

The third of hundreds of Capitol riot cases prosecuted by the US Justice Department, is Thompson's jury trial. In the first two instances, jurors found the defendants guilty of all charges.

Thompson's lawyer was barred from calling him and Rudolph Giuliani as trial witnesses, but the judge ruled that jurors might hear recordings of speeches Trump and Giuliani delivered on January 6, before the clash erupted. A recording of Trump's remarks was played.

Shamansky claimed that Giuliani encouraged rioters to participate in a "trial by combat," and that Trump propelled the mob by declaring, "If you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore."

Both Trump and Giuliani have the authority to "make legal" what Thompson did at the Capitol, according to Dreher.

Thompson, who said he was fired on Wednesday, admitted that he was involved in the attack and stole the coat rack and a bottle of bourbon from the Senate parliamentarian's office. He said he regretted his "disgraceful" behavior.

I can't believe the things I did, said the narrator. Mob mentality and group believe it is very real and very dangerous.

Thompson said he believed Trump's false assertion that the election was stolen and was trying to stand up for the thumping duck president.

"If the president is giving you a command to do something, I felt obliged to do that," he said.

Thompson is charged with six counts including bumbling the Electoral College's votes, stealing government property, entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, or parading, demonstrating or picking up in a Capitol building.

The only felony charge is the obstruction count. The rest are misdemeanors.

Thompson drove from Ohio to Washington with a friend, Robert Lyon, who was also detained less than a month after the incident. Lyon pleaded guilty in March to two misdemeanors, including theft of government property and disorderly conduct, and will be sentenced June 3rd.

On January 6, Thompson and Lyon took an Uber ride into Washington. After Trump's speech, they headed to the Capitol.

When Thompson entered the building and went to the parliamentarian's office, the FBI said agents searched Lyon's cellphone and discovered a video that showed a ransacked office and Thompson shouting: "This is our house!"

"(Trump) didn't force you to go, and he did not force you to walk every step of the way to the Capitol building, did he?" Thompson asked on Wednesday.

Thompson said, "Non."

You chose to do it, Dreher said.

"I was following presidential orders, but yes," Thompson said.

More than 770 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the riot. Over 250 of them have pleaded guilty to misdemeanors. Thompson is the fifth person to be tried on riot-related charges.

On Monday, a jury found Thomas Robertson, a former Virginia police officer, guilty of storming the Capitol with another off-duty officer. Last month, a jury found a Texas man, Guy Reffitt, guilty of storming the building with a holstered pistol.

At separate bench trials, a judge who was hearing testimony without a jury decided cases against two other Capitol riot defendants. District Judge Trevor McFadden acquitted one of them of all charges and partially acquitted the other.


Jacques Billeaud, an Associated Press reporter, has contributed from Phoenix.

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