Windfall: Lies concerning the election helped convey insurrectionists to the Capitol on January 6, and now some who’re going through prison costs for his or her actions in the course of the riot hope their gullibility would possibly save them – or at the least engender some sympathy.
Attorneys for at the least three defendants charged in reference to the violent siege say they are going to blame election misinformation and conspiracy theories, a lot of it pushed by then-president Donald Trump, for deceptive their shoppers. The attorneys say those that unfold that misinformation bear as a lot accountability for the violence as do those that participated within the precise breach of the Capitol.
“I type of sound like an fool now saying it, however my religion was in him,” defendant Anthony Antonio mentioned, talking of Trump. Antonio mentioned he wasn’t concerned about politics earlier than pandemic boredom led him to conservative cable information and right-wing social media. “I believe they did a terrific job of convincing folks.”
After Joe Biden’s victory in final yr’s presidential election, Trump and his allies repeatedly claimed that the race was stolen, although the claims have been repeatedly debunked by officers from each events, outdoors consultants, courts in a number of states and Trump’s personal attorney-general. In lots of instances, the baseless claims about vote dumps, poll fraud and corrupt election officers had been amplified on social media, constructing Trump’s marketing campaign to undermine religion within the election that started lengthy earlier than November.
The defendants characterize solely a fraction of the greater than 400 folks charged within the failed try and disrupt the certification of Biden’s victory. However their arguments spotlight the essential position that misinformation performed in inspiring the riot, particularly as many high Republicans attempt to minimise the violence of January 6 and thousands and thousands of others nonetheless wrongly imagine the election was stolen.
Not less than a type of charged plans to make misinformation a key a part of his defence.
Albert Watkins, the lawyer representing Jacob Chansley, the so-called QAnon shaman, likened the method to brainwashing or falling into the clutches of a cult. Repeated publicity to falsehood and incendiary rhetoric, Watkins mentioned, finally overwhelmed his shopper’s skill to discern actuality.
“He isn’t loopy,” Watkins mentioned. “The individuals who fell in love with (cult chief) Jim Jones and went all the way down to Guyana, that they had husbands and wives and lives. After which they drank the Kool-Help.”