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A Capitol riot defendant wants to subpoena Trump to testify as a witness in his trial, arguing he acted on the direction of the former president

Trump (1)
  • The lawyer of a Capitol riot defendant asked a judge for permission to subpoena Donald Trump.
  • He wants Trump to testify as a witness in hopes of proving his client acted at the former president’s direction.
  • It’s the latest example of a person charged in the attack blaming Trump.

A defendant charged in the Capitol riot asked a judge on Friday for permission to subpoena former President Donald Trump to testify as a witness at his trial, according to court documents.

Dustin Thompson of Ohio was charged with multiple counts related to January 6, 2021, including entering restricted grounds, theft of government property, and disorderly conduct. He has pleaded not guilty.

In court filings obtained by Insider, his attorney, Samuel Shamansky, has sought to implicate Trump in his client’s actions. On Friday, Shamansky asked the judge to subpoena Trump and some of his allies, including former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and former White House strategist Steve Bannon.

“It is anticipated that, when called as a witness, Donald J. Trump will testify that he and others orchestrated a carefully crafted plot to call into question the integrity of the 2020 presidential election and the validity of President Biden’s victory,” Shamansky wrote.

“Moreover, it will be established at trial that Mr. Trump and his conspirators engaged in a concerted effort to deceive the public, including Defendant, into believing that American democracy was at stake if Congress was permitted to certify the election results,” he continued.

Shamansky and a lawyer for Trump did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.

It’s unclear how likely it is the request is granted, but it marked the latest example of a Capitol riot defendant seeking to shift the blame to Trump. Shortly after January 6, defendants and their lawyers began arguing they participated in the riot at the direction of the president.

In addition to the subpoena request, Thompson’s lawyer said in a separate motion on Friday that he plans to use what is known as a “public authority defense” on behalf of his client, which argues the defendant was authorized by a government agent to engage in illegal activity.

Thompson said “he was directed to engage in the conduct set forth in the indictment by Donald J. Trump and his various conspirators,” the motion said.

So far, 768 people have been charged in relation to the Capitol riot.

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