Donald Trump When he told his supporters to “fight like hell” on the day of the Capitol attack against his loss to Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential race, he may have been telling his supporters that they “have to do something more.” That’s according to a federal judge’s findings Wednesday.
The opinion came in the form of Justice John Bates A judgment It prevents one accused of carrying out the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol — Alexander Shepard — from arguing that Trump, who was president at the time, authorized his actions.
Bates’ ruling recounted how Trump spoke near the White House on the day Congress certified his loss to Biden, urging his supporters to march on the Capitol without saying it was illegal for lawmakers to enter the polling area.
“These words only encourage those at the rally to march on the Capitol … and never speak of legality,” wrote Bates, who was appointed to a federal court bench in Washington, D.C., by former President George W. Bush. “But even though his express words refer only to the walk below the Capitol, one might conclude that the context indicates that he is urging the protesters to do something more: enter the Capitol building and stop the certification.”
Bates notes that his reasoning is inconsistent with the final report recently issued by a congressional committee investigating the capital attack, which was linked to nine deaths, including the suicides of law enforcement officers guarding the building that day. .
The panel’s report found that Trump acted “corruptly” on the day of the attack because he knew it was illegal to withhold Biden’s certificate of victory against him, and the panel made a nonbinding recommendation that federal prosecutors file criminal charges against him. President.
Bates also believed Trump used the phrase “fight like hell” in his speech on Jan. 6 — two weeks before Biden assumed control of the Oval Office. Be illegal.”
“Even if the protesters believed they were following orders, they were not misled about the legality of their actions and thus outside the protection of any public authority,” Bates wrote.
“Conclusions have been reached here… [are] Compatible with [January 6] Committee’s conclusions.”
Shepard was one of the capital attack defendants who tried to argue that they were doing the president’s bidding that day, though that strategy did not succeed in court. For example, Capitol rioter Dustin Thompson was convicted and later sentenced to three years in prison after telling a jury that he went to the building on the day of the attack because he wanted Trump’s “approval” and because he believed he was obeying “presidential orders.” In prison.
It’s unclear whether Trump will be charged in the capital attack. Prosecutors have charged more than 900 people, many of whom have already been convicted and sentenced to prison.
Bates’ ruling appears to be the first court ruling to cite the committee’s 800-page report on Jan. 6 since it was released last week.