As the nation continues to grapple with the legal and political fallout of the January 6th protest at the US Capitol, there have been a number of arguments made in court as to the root cause of the unrest.
And, predictably, there have been no shortage of efforts to pin the entire thing on former President Donald Trump, beginning with his second impeachment and then extending through the January 6th select committee…and beyond.
But the latest to attempt to conjure some form of culpability for Donald Trump is a bit of surprise.
Former President Donald Trump was responsible for the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, a lawyer representing the Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio argued in a high-profile trial on Thursday.
“Trump told these people that the election was stolen. Trump told them to go there on January 6,” Tarrio’s attorney, Sabino Jauregui, told jurors in federal district court in Washington, DC, during his opening statement. “And it was Trump, with his speech on January 6, that unleashed this mob on the Capitol.”Trending:
The Justice Department has charged Tarrio with seditious conspiracy, alleging that under his leadership, members of the Proud Boys stormed the Capitol on January 6 to stop Congress from certifying then-President-elect Joe Biden’s 2020 victory. Tarrio is on trial along with four other Proud Boys members: Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl, and Dominic Pezzola, all of whom have pleaded not guilty.
Tarrio’s legal strategy appeared to be largely based on this idea.
Tarrio’s lawyer noted the line in court on Thursday, saying Trump was “the one that told them march over to the Capitol and fight like hell.”
“Enrique didn’t say that,” Jauregui told jurors. “Enrique didn’t say anything to anybody on the grounds of the Capitol on January 6, but he just happens to be the leader of the Proud Boys.”
Jauregui argued that Tarrio has been made a “scapegoat” for the violence that unfolded on January 6, despite not being on the ground that day. Tarrio had been arrested two days earlier for an unrelated incident — burning a “Black Lives Matter” flag at a historic church in Washington, DC.
Trump was acquitted of “inciting” the crowd via his second impeachment trial, and the January 6th select committee’s criminal referrals to the DOJ have netted precisely zero charges.
Furthermore, other judges have already rejected similar arguments from previous J6 trials, making Tarrio’s use of the defense here a bit curious.