Judge Says Trump ‘Stoked’ Crowd On Jan. 6

 

A federal judge on Wednesday said the speakers at the “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol attack, including former President Trump, “stoked” the crowd and possibly “inspired” what went down that day. 

District Judge Amy Berman Jackson made the remarks while sentencing defendant Russell Peterson, who reportedly sat in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi‘s (D-Calif.) chair after storming the Capitol on Jan. 6. He was arrested on Feb. 12 and entered a plea agreement in September.

Jackson, without saying the former president’s name directly, said that Trump and the other speakers at the rally on the Ellipse “explicitly encouraged them to go to the Capitol and fight for one reason and one reason only — to make sure the certification of the election didn’t happen.”

There may be others who bear greater responsibility and should be held accountable,” Jackson told Peterson, according to CNN. “But this is not their day in court. It’s yours.”

“You did receive a lot of overwhelming inaccurate information on social media,” the judge continued, “but you had a choice to reject the lies and not to join the antidemocratic call for martial law.”

Jackson is known for her sharp criticisms of the Trump administration and has handled numerous Capitol riot cases so far. She has rejected defense attempts to paint the rioters as political prisoners.

CCTV footage from inside the Capitol as well as livestreamed video filmed by Peterson confirmed that he had entered the building. His mother, Shelly Peterson, who also traveled to the Capitol that day, later wrote on Facebook that her son had entered the Capitol and “sat in Pelosi’s char.”

As part of his plea agreement, Peterson agreed to plead guilty to one count of picketing inside the Capitol.

Peterson was sentenced to 30 days in jail, which was twice the amount of time prosecutors had recommended. He was also fined $500 for damage done to the Capitol.

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