On Friday, NBC4 Washington's Scott MacFarlane dropped a new report on how a favorite defense of January 6 Capitol rioters was smacked down in court this week.
"If you've ever seen that movie 'Mean Girls,' you know there's a famous line: 'Stop trying to make 'fetch' happen.' You're not going to make 'fetch' into a catchphrase," said MacFarlane. "There is a version of that, legally, happening in the January 6 cases as defendants are trying to make 'caught up in the moment' happen."
MacFarlane then detailed what this strategy entailed.
"Watching, listening to these sentencings, one after the other, defendants are coming up, asking for leniency, and saying that they were 'caught up in the moment' or 'caught up in the fervor' or 'caught up in the crowd.' And it happened again today," he explained. "It was sentencing today for Glenn Croy, who prosecutors say illegally entered the Capitol not once, but twice on January 6th, and filmed and recorded video inside. That's him in there, according to prosecutors, taking a picture of the MAGA hat somebody put on the Winston Churchill statue in the Capitol."
"Croy asked for leniency, apologized today, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, and part of his apology and argument for leniency was that he was 'caught up,' he got 'caught up,'" said MacFarlane. "By my notes, he said it almost a dozen times, and then added, 'I had no idea I was going to the Capitol that day, then Mr. Trump said, 'walk down the street to the Capitol.'"
However, MacFarlane said that this excuse did not go over well with the judge.
"The judge, before issuing the sentence, seemed to try to knock down that argument for this case, and perhaps for others, this 'caught up' argument," said MacFarlane. "She said, 'Being a follower does not provide an absolution from criminal activity. There are consequences to following a crowd.' That's the chief judge of the D.C. federal court. Moments later, she issued a slightly higher sentence for Mr. Croy than other defendants have received for pleading guilty. Yes, he gets probation, but he also has a shorter term of home detention and two weeks in a community correctional facility."
The reporter then pointed ahead to upcoming sentencings of violent MAGA rioters and wondered if they would try to deploy this same defense.
"This is important though," added MacFarlane. "Watch this later this month. Because later this month, we start getting higher level defendants for sentencing. Including one who pleaded guilty to assaulting police that day. Prosecutors are recommending 44 months, between three and four years prison, for that defendant. When he asks for leniency — a defendant who acknowledges assaulting police — will he argue he was 'caught up in the moment'? What will judges say if he does?"
Judge shoots down an argument being used by an increasing number of US Capitol riot defendants. (They might wanna try something different)\n\nMy latest reporting ===>pic.twitter.com/SX1j0KrcHU— Scott MacFarlane (@Scott MacFarlane) 1636151446