'He had everyone enraged': MAGA rioters pin blame on Trump — and it could impact fellow defendants

On Thursday, CBS News' Scott MacFarlane, the leading correspondent covering the January 6 criminal cases, explained how one defendant's plea for mercy could ultimately impact other trials moving forward.

"At first, it was just a curiosity," said MacFarlane. "Something I heard a few times, jotted down in my notebook, and kind of left it there. But now it's happening so often, it's worth a deeper review. One after another, January 6th defendants, when they go before a judge to seek leniency, are using some variation of the phrase 'caught up in the moment,' or 'caught up in the crowd,' 'caught up in the fervors,' 'swept up in the crowd,' 'caught up in the chaos.' It's becoming a refrain."

MacFarlane then zeroed in on a particular case that caught his attention.

"Today was sentencing day for Zachary and Kelsey Wilson of Missouri," continued MacFarlane. "And in their sentencing hearing, we heard it nearly a half dozen times. Some variation of 'I was caught up.' Kelsey Wilson said she was 'caught up in everything.' Zachary Wilson said something a little more unique, saying, 'I was caught up in President Trump telling everybody the election was stolen. He had everyone enraged.' The judge listened to those arguments, and sentenced Zachary and Kelsey Wilson to a short period of home detention and probation. Prosecutors were seeking 14 days behind bars for both."

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"But the thing is, it's not just the defendants," said MacFarlane. "Increasingly, we are hearing judges using a variation of that refrain. In fact, the judge sentencing the Wilsons today said that Kelsey Wilson seems to have gotten 'caught up.' Now, it's far from clear whether there's any connection between that phrase and leniency at sentencing, but it's quite likely other January 6th defendants who've yet to plead guilty or yet to face sentencing are listening in or getting reports about what's happening in the other cases. And likely, they're hearing this. And this refrain could continue, it could increase."

"There are more than 700 federal defendants. As of tonight, the U.S. Justice Department tells me about 200 have pleaded guilty," added MacFarlane. "Which means there are many more who will face a judge, seek leniency, and have an opportunity to argue about being 'caught up.'"

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