Militia group can’t blame Trump in Jan. 6 trial, Justice Department says

Members of a right-wing militia who are on trial for the most serious charges stemming from the Jan. 6, 2021, uprising should be barred from trying to blame former President Donald Trump for their actions, the Department of Justice said. Justice to a judge.

Trump, whose supporters besieged the US Capitol to prevent the peaceful transition of power to Joe Biden, had no power to order such an attack and therefore cannot be used in a so-called defense of public authority. or entrapment, the United States said in a filing Friday in Washington.

US seeks court ruling to prevent lawyers for Oath Keepers founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes and other members of the group from using the defense during his opening statement to the jury or during the questioning of witnesses during the seditious conspiracy trial, which is due to begin on September 1. 26.

“President Trump had no authority to permit or authorize a conspiracy to oppose by force the authority of the government or the execution of the laws of the United States, and he would not have could not legally sanction the attack on the United States Capitol on January 6. or any of the other criminal conduct allegedly perpetrated by the defendants,” the United States said in the filing.

Rhodes attorney James Bright did not immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment on the DOJ documents.

Trump was accused of instigating the attack, which injured more than 100 police officers and caused more than $1 million in damage. He staged a fiery rally near the White House ahead of the assault, encouraging a crowd of supporters — some of them armed — to march toward the Capitol. Many of the nearly 800 people charged in the riot have tried to argue that they were simply following Trump’s orders. The United States contends that the Respondents knew better.

The U.S. also asked the judge to bar defendants “from arguing that any inaction by law enforcement rendered their conduct lawful,” which would undermine a frequent argument by accused rioters that since some police officers don’t didn’t try to stop them, they actually had the green light to enter the Capitol. The police were vastly outnumbered.

Rhodes and the other members of the right-wing group lost their request to dismiss criminal charges last month. The judge also denied the members’ request to move their trial from Washington to Alexandria, Va., due to concerns about jury bias.

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