Jan 6 defendant first to be completely acquitted after lawyers argue police waved him into the Capitol

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An accused Jan. 6 rioter managed to win his freedom by convincing a federal judge that he’d been “let in” to the Capitol building by U.S. Capitol Police officers.

During his two-day bench trial this week, accused Jan. 6 rioter Matthew Martin admitted to having entered the Capitol building but argued that he’d done so after being waved in by Capitol officers, according to The New York Times.

U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, the same judge who complained last year about Jan. 6th rioters being treated significantly harsher than the Black Lives Matter and Antifa rioters who’d rioted for an entire summer, was partial to this argument.

“Ruling in favor of the defense, Judge Trevor N. McFadden said he found it plausible that Mr. Martin believed the police had let him in and thus had not knowingly gone into the building improperly,” as reported by the Times.

“Judge McFadden acquitted Mr. Martin of four misdemeanors: entering and remaining in a restricted building; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building; violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building; and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.”

The ruling prompted celebration from the Trumpverse, with supporters of the rioters jovial over finally getting “justice” and hopeful that other accused rioters may be able to successfully use the same defense in their trials.

In fairness, McFadden reportedly based some of his decision on Martin’s behavior once inside the Capitol.

“McFadden said that Martin’s conduct was as ‘minimal and non-serious’ as the judge could imagine for someone who went into the Capitol on Jan. 6. He said that Martin seemed to be a ‘silent observer’ of the scene and didn’t try to crowd the police, protest, or wave the ‘Trump’ flag that he was carrying,” according to BuzzFeed News.

“Martin appeared ‘quiet’ and ‘orderly’ as he walked inside the building, filmed video inside the Rotunda similar to how the media would behave, and didn’t appear to interfere with officers as he filmed a clash with rioters later in the afternoon on a north terrace of the building.”

It’s not clear whether any other defendants will be granted the same leniency, especially those who, instead of just watching silently, actually participated in the riotous behavior that was reported to have occurred within the Capitol.

(Source: Department of Justice)

What’s known is that over 200 defendants have already pleaded guilty to misdemeanor offenses, though “hundreds” of additional misdemeanor-only cases remain pending.

The defendants facing only misdemeanors like Martin are the ones most likely to succeed using his defense. Those facing serious felonies, not so much.

Despite Martin’s victory, many of his supporters still remain angry over how he was treated by the press, which had rushed to portray him as an “insurrectionist.”

In fact, Brandon Straka, the founder of the #WalkAway movement, notes in the tweet below that “every person charged” (including him) has been smeared this way:

Straka’s own ordeal began when, following his attendance at the “Stop the Steal” rally, an FBI swat team barged into his home and threw him in jail.

Following his arrest, he went Twitter-silent until this past January, when he finally opened up with a lengthy letter describing his ordeal and defending his Jan. 6th actions, which had included telling the people at the Capitol to “hold the line.”

“You should all know that I was present on the East side of the Capitol and never witnessed any of the violence taking place on the West side that day. I shot video of the thousands of peaceful protesters standing on the East side singing songs and holding signs,” he wrote.

“This was the scene when I left the grounds. My statement was to encourage the thousands of peaceful protesters to stand their ground- after all, peaceful protests are still protected by our constitution, right?”

Straka did however wind up pleading guilty “to enthusiastically joining and encouraging the pro-Trump mob that stormed the US Capitol,” according to BuzzFeed News, and being sentenced to house arrest and probation.


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Vivek Saxena


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