A federal judge this week used the House Select Committee's final report on the January 6th Capitol riots to suggest former President Donald Trump encouraged his followers to break the law.
Politico reports that U.S. District Court Judge John Bates, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush, cited the committee's report when he slapped down a defense used by Capitol rioter Alexander Sheppard in which he claimed that Trump had given him legal permission to go into the Capitol building on January 6th, 2021.
In particular, Bates argued that Trump telling his supporters to "fight like hell" while also encouraging them to march to the Capitol "could signal to protesters that entering the Capitol and stopping the certification would be unlawful."
This is relevant because many January 6th defendants have claimed that they were misled by Trump about the legality of their actions, and they have argued that this supports leniency in their sentencing.
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Bates, however, said that claim simply does not stand up to scrutiny.
"Even if protesters believed they were following orders, they were not misled about the legality of their actions," he ruled, and said that such a ruling was "consistent with the Select Committee’s findings."