A 20-year-old Washington area man, Emmanuel Jackson, says the immediate past President, Donald Trump has asked his supporters to attack Capitol Hill on 6 January
In his legal defense, Jackson cited the former president’s remarks at a “Stop the Steal” rally shortly before the Capitol siege.
Trump told the crowd to “fight like hell,” said “we will not take it anymore” and repeated his false claims that the election was stolen from him through widespread voting fraud.
Trump exhorted his followers to go to the Capitol. The ensuing rampage interrupted the congressional certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory, sent lawmakers into hiding and left five people dead including a police officer.
Jackson, awaiting trial in a Federal court on assault charges, was caught on video using a metal bat to strike the protective shields wielded by police officers as they tried to fend off the rioters.
His lawyer, Brandi Harden, wrote in a Jan. 22 court filing that “the nature and circumstances of this offence must be viewed through the lens of an event inspired by the President of the United States.”
The Capitol siege, Harden added, “appears to have been spontaneous and sparked by the statements made during the ‘Stop the Steal’ rally.”
Harden argued that Jackson should be released while awaiting trial. A judge on Jan. 22 denied the request.
At least six of the 170 people charged in connection with the Capitol siege have tried to shift at least some of the blame onto Trump as they defend themselves in court or in the court of public opinion.
Other defendants to take this route include Jacob Chansley, who donned a horned headdress and face paint during the attack, and Dominic Pezzola, a member of the Proud Boys right-wing extremist group who is accused of shattering a window in the Capitol with a stolen police shield so rioters could enter.