For those who’ve been arrested due to their involvement during the events of January 6th, one of the largest questions left for the litigators who’ll be guiding them through the system has to do with any potential culpability for then-President Donald J. Trump.
At face value, Trump’s acquittal during his second impeachment trial would suggest that he did not, in fact, “incite” the attempted insurrection that occurred that day. But, adjudicators in the field have seemingly sidestepped this ruling by coming to conclusions of their own, and this week was no exception.
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, according to a CNN report.Advertisement - story continues below
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.”
And that wasn’t all:
“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.”Advertisement - story continues below
“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.”
While there have been no shortage of judges making similar inferences to the responsibility that they feel Donald Trump bears in the attack, no charges have been filed against the former Commander in Chief.