Trump not on trial in Jan. 6 attack case, prosecutor says

Trump not on trial in Jan. 6 attack case, prosecutor says

WASHINGTON - A federal prosecutor told jurors that former President Donald Trump is not on trial as a Jan. 6 defendant tried to blame the ex-president for his decision to loot the U.S. Capitol.

Dustin Thompson, a 38-year-old college-educated Ohio resident, told jurors that he was hoping to gain the respect and approval of Trump when he stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021. Thompson said he got sucked into conspiracy theories after he lost his job at the beginning of the Covid epidemic and believed Trump's baseless claims about a stolen 2020 election.

A jury will decide the fate of Thompson, who testified that he was following presidential orders when he stole a bottle of liquor and a coat rack from inside the Capitol.

Assistant U.S. Attorney William Kennelly Drehe said during closing arguments that this was an easy case, and the jury should not consider Trump's behavior in deciding Thompson's guilt, calling the defense's attempt to blame the former president a sideshow. The prosecuting attorney told jurors that Trump and Rudy Giuliani, an ally of the former president, could not have authorized Thompson's conduct, arguing that Samuel Shamansky, the defendant's attorney, was trying to distract jurors from his client's conduct.

Shamansky told jurors that the Jan. 6 plot began at the highest levels of our government and that Trump took advantage of vulnerable supporters like his client who believed lies were fed to them in the months leading up to the attack.

Dreher argued that Thompson's attorney focused on what Trump said on the morning of January 6 because he wants jurors to forget what his client did that afternoon.

The prosecutor said that he wants to think you have to choose between President Trump and his client. You don't have to choose, because this is not President Trump's criminal trial. Dreher also noted that jurors can think Trump bears responsibility for the attack, lie to the American people and still find Thompson guilty.

On the morning of January 6, you can see that President Trump encouraged the crowd. You can think that they were doing things that made President Trump happy, the prosecutor said. The defendant is an adult, not a child. President Trump didn't hold his hand as he walked down the Capitol. In his closing argument, Shamansky told jurors that Thompson was being bombarded by Trump's lies, saying, You had, frankly, a gangster who was in power making those statements on tape. Nearly 800 people have been arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 attack, and hundreds of others have been identified as being referred to as the FBI.

The total number of people suspected of having entered the Capitol on January 6 or assaulting members of the media outside is nearly 3,000.

More than 250 defendants have already pleaded guilty, and punishments range from a few months of probation to more than five years in federal prison.

Thompson is the third defendant to have a trial on a jury. The first two defendants to face a jury — Guy Reffitt and Thomas Robertson — were both found guilty on all counts.