An attorney representing alleged Proud Boys member Dominic Pezzola for his alleged involvement in the violent riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 blasted former President Donald Trump‘s “deception” of millions of his supporters about the election results.
Pezzola, a former U.S. Marine and native of Rochester, New York, was indicted by a grand jury last month for allegedly helping to remove a police barricade “so that other Proud Boys and persons could infiltrate the plaza, thus depriving Capitol Police officers of a means of controlling access to the Capitol and certain areas within the Capitol grounds.” The suspect entered a plea of “not guilty” during a virtual court appearance on Tuesday.
In a legal motion filed Wednesday, Pezzola’s attorney argued that his client “acted out of the delusional belief that he was a ‘patriot’ protecting his country,”—pointing to his former military service. “He was responding to the entreaties of the then commander in chief, President Trump,” the attorney wrote. The brief was first reported by Politico.
“The President maintained that the election had been stolen and it was the duty of loyal citizens to ‘stop the steal,'” the motion continued. “Admittedly there was no rational basis for this claim, but it is apparent that the defendant was one of millions of Americans who were misled by the President’s deception,” the lawyer added, arguing that his client “did not act out of criminal intent.”
In a footnote at the bottom of page 13 of the 15-page motion, the attorney took aim at the reality that Trump has returned to his normal wealthy lifestyle while many of his supporters are facing years in prison.
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“Press accounts of the underlying event are rampant with the universal claim by all protesters that they were acting at the behest of President Trump to save the country from a stolen election,” he wrote. “Many of those who heeded his call will be spending substantial portions if not the remainder of their lives in prison as a consequence. Meanwhile, Donald Trump resumes his life of luxury and privilege.”