Jan. 6 defendant Dustin Thompson GUILTY on all charges. including felony obstruction of Congress.
More on the case:https://t.co/uolGhCGILU
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) April 14, 2022
A jury on Thursday convicted the Jan. 6 defendant Dustin Thompson on all six charges he faced — including felony obstruction of Congress — rejecting his effort to blame Donald Trump’s campaign of disinformation about the election results for his conduct.
The verdict, the third conviction in three jury trials for the Justice Department, was a significant validation of prosecutors’ effort to separate the actions of individual participants in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot from the attempts by Trump to subvert the election results.
After the verdict, U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton tore into Trump for his efforts to dupe supporters into believing the election was stolen.
“I think our democracy is in trouble because, unfortunately, we have charlatans like our former president who doesn’t, in my view, really care about democracy but only about power,” Walton said…
Trump’s ability to influence his supporters to march on and breach the Capitol has been a focus of the Jan. 6 select committee in Congress. It has pointed to claims from defendants like Thompson — as well as Trump’s lengthy silence during the riot — as evidence that the former president bears singular, perhaps criminal, responsibility for the violence that broke out that day.
Dreher didn’t contradict that narrative but urged jurors to set it aside.
“This is not president Trump’s criminal trial,” he said. “It is not up to you to decide whether anyone other than the defendant should be prosecuted for any of the crimes charged. The fact that another person may also be guilty is no defense of a criminal charge. The question of the possible guilt of others should not enter your thinking.”
Thompson was convicted on six charges: obstruction of an official proceeding — which carries a maximum 20-year sentence — as well as theft of government property, entering and remaining in a restricted building, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building, disorderly conduct in the Capitol, and parading in the Capitol. The jury deliberated for about three hours…
Defendant Dustin Thompson:
The jury trial of Jan. 6 suspect Dustin Thompson continues this morning. Yesterday, during opening arguments, his attorney admitted that his client stole a coat rack and a bottle of liquor, but said Trump authorized the attack. https://t.co/h9q4OxFfGv
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) April 13, 2022
… An exterminator from Columbus, Ohio, Mr. Thompson, 38, was laid off in March 2020, at the start of the pandemic. Alone at home with his new wife, he began spending long days on the internet, steeping himself in conspiracy theories about the upcoming vote.
As the election approached, he said, he fully believed that if Donald J. Trump ended up losing, it would only be because the voting had been rigged, as the president had been warning publicly for months. Even after Joseph R. Biden Jr. was declared the winner, Mr. Thompson could not accept that it was true…
“If the president’s giving you almost an order to do something,” he said, “I felt obligated to do that.”
Mr. Thompson’s story is not unusual. At several points during the Justice Department’s vast investigation of the Capitol attack, many people charged with crimes have sought to blame Mr. Trump in various ways for their actions, mostly at pretrial bail hearings or at sentencings after pleading guilty.
But Mr. Thompson is the first defendant to attempt the argument at trial in front of a jury. In making his case, he offered a window into the toxic and relentless flood of conspiracy theories and lies, stoked by Mr. Trump, that helped give rise to the riot…
Well before the trial began, Mr. Thompson’s lawyer, Samuel H. Shamansky, made a bold request of the judge in the case, Reggie B. Walton, asking for permission to subpoena Mr. Trump as a witness. Judge Walton ultimately rejected the move, saying that hauling the former president into the courtroom would only have been a distraction.
Instead, at his trial this week, Mr. Shamansky has painted Mr. Thompson as an impressionable man who filled his days of pandemic-driven isolation with a steady diet of election fraud conspiracy theories. Mr. Thompson agreed that a “perfect storm” of circumstances, as Mr. Shamansky put it, had caused him to fall prey to Mr. Trump’s lies about the race and ultimately led him to the Capitol.
“It was just an awful year — being unemployed, newly married, quarantine, Covid,” he told the jury. “I don’t know where my head was.”
Before Mr. Thompson offered his account, his wife, Sarah Thompson, took the stand…
When he went off to Washington on Jan. 5, she said, driving with a friend, Mrs. Thompson did not think that her husband would get into trouble. She was happy, as she put it, to be at home with the “house quiet.”
But on the evening of the riot, Mr. Thompson texted her a video of himself, milling about with others in the looted parliamentarian’s office. The room was littered with paperwork and overturned furniture.
Her response to him was simple and direct.
“I will not post bail,” she texted back.
! Walton detains Thompson without bond pending sentencing.
"The inevitable reality is that whether he does time now or does time later, he’s got to do time," Walton said just before ordering him held.
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) April 14, 2022