70 Months Prison Time For Liquor/Coat-Stealing Capitol Rioter Sought By Feds

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Federal prosecutors are asking a judge to impose a sentence of nearly six years in prison on convicted Capitol rioter Dustin Thompson, whose original charges included obstruction of an official proceeding and allegations of theft. The obstruction offense is a felony, while the theft charges of which he was also convicted by a jury connect to Thompson taking liquor and a coat rack from the Capitol.

The sentence prosecutors are seeking is 70 months of jail, alongside other penalties including three years of supervised release after his time in jail concludes. At trial, Thompson heavily leaned on the idea that he was simply acting in accordance with Trump’s wishes. While that notion may be true, it doesn’t mean — as Thompson was going with — that individual rioters are somehow absolved of their responsibility for participating in the chaos. “If the president is giving you almost an order to do something, I felt obligated to do that,” Thompson told jurors, elaborating that he felt a compulsion “to do something to gain [Trump’s] respect or, like, approval.” At another point in his trial, Thompson tried to present some kind of epiphany moment. “I can’t let other people tell me what to do,” he said. “Even if they’re the president.” Thompson is married and in his upper 30s, and his defense at trial — well, one of them — was that he’s just now grasping that concept?

After the jury’s verdict was delivered in Thompson’s April trial, where Thompson’s own wife testified, federal Judge Reggie Walton tore into him for joining up with Trump’s nonsense, commenting (per reporter Kyle Cheney) that “if somebody is weak-minded enough to buy in on what was being said and then come all the way from Ohio… and even doing it gleefully, I just have my real concerns about him.” Walton ordered Thompson to be held without bond ahead of further proceedings, as reported on this site.

In their sentencing memo, prosecutors note that — besides the dramatic leap inherent in the arguments trying to pass off responsibility for Thompson’s crimes to Trump — Thompson also lied about January 6. In making a case for the role of Trump and others in incitement, Thompson testified that he heard Rudy Giuliani talk about “trial by combat” in an infamous moment from the pre-breach rally in D.C. In reality, Thompson wasn’t there. “On rebuttal, a government witness explained that both Thompson’s Uber records and the GPS data on his phone established that Thompson’s Uber ride did not arrive even near the rally until roughly 11:05 a.m., at least twelve minutes after Mr. Giuliani made the statements in question,” per the prosecutors’ sentencing memo. Thompson didn’t just make a passing reference to hearing Giuliani’s remarks — he went into great detail at trial, brazenly lying. He also misrepresented his handling of the coat rack he took, claiming he was just trying to keep it from getting broken or used as a weapon. If so, why did he still have it three hours later in D.C.?

Image: Brett Davis/ Creative Commons