A 38-year-old man from Ohio who claimed that he was “following presidential orders” from Donald Trump when he marched to the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 along with other rioters was convicted.

A statement from US Attorney’s Office, District of Columbia said that following a trial in the District of Columbia, Dustin Byron Thompson was found guilty of six charges. He was found guilty of one felony, obstruction of an official proceeding, along with five misdemeanor offenses that included theft of government property; entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; and disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds.

The Associated Press reported last week that a jury took less than three hours to reject his novel defense for obstructing Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s presidential victory. Thompson blamed Trump and members of the former President’s inner circle for the riot and for his own actions, but jurors didn’t buy it. “Donald Trump wasn’t on trial in this case," said one juror. The 40-year-old male juror added that everyone agrees that Trump is "culpable as an overall narrative," and that lots of people were there and "then went home, but Dustin Thompson did not.”

Earlier, Thompson testified and admitted that he joined the mob’s attack and stole a coat rack as well as a bottle of bourbon. He said that he regretted his “disgraceful” behavior, and that he couldn't "believe the things that I did." But he believed Trump’s false claim that the 2020 Presidential election was stolen and so, he was trying to stand up for the former President. Thompson said that if the President is giving you "almost an order to do something, I felt obligated to do that."

He is scheduled to be sentenced by US District Judge Reggie Walton on July 20. The judge described the defendant’s testimony as “totally disingenuous” and his conduct on Jan. 6 as “reprehensible," and also cast blame in Trump’s direction after the verdict was announced. The judge said that he thinks "our democracy is in trouble," and that “charlatans” like Trump don’t care about democracy, only about power, and as a result of that, "it’s tearing our country apart." Walton ordered Thompson to be held and he was taken away in handcuffs as the judge said that he believed the rioter was a flight risk and posed a danger to the public.

Capitol siege
The Justice Department has arrested more than 775 individuals in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the Capitol siege, more than 245 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. Getty Images

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