Another member of the Trump-supporting mob that descended on the U.S. Capitol last year has been sentenced to prison.
This time, it’s Ohio man Dustin Thompson, who was found guilty at a jury trial in April of this year of a slew of charges including the felony offense of obstruction of an official proceeding. Prosecutors previously asked for nearly six years in prison for Thompson, and he’s now received 36 months. During earlier proceedings, Thompson tried to push responsibility for his actions onto Trump in hopes of evading convictions on at least the more serious allegations. “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 at 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.” Was he just then grasping that concept?
Thompson also faced theft allegations, having taken items including a coat rack from the Capitol building. He previously alleged he was simply trying to keep the coat rack from being used as a weapon. (He wasn’t personally accused of violence.) If that’s the case, why did he still have it well after departing the Capitol building itself, while waiting for an Uber, per a Justice Department press release on the occasion of his Friday sentencing? In trying to credit others for the main bulk of responsibility for his actions, Thompson also claimed at trial to have heard Trump goon Rudy Giuliani talk at the pre-breach rally in D.C. about so-called “trial by combat.” Available details including his personal Uber records and his phone’s GPS data indicate he wasn’t actually at the rally site when Giuliani made those infamous remarks, which have been widely circulated since the event originally took place.
Although Thompson wasn’t personally charged with perpetrating violence, he was in the vicinity of it, including around the Lower West Terrace tunnel at the Capitol. Thompson’s case featured a co-defendant, fellow Ohio man Robert Anthony Lyon, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges in March of this year and has also been sentenced, although his stint in jail will be much shorter, at just 40 days. Lyon participated in stealing the coat rack. “We need to get the f— out with this trophy,” Lyon apparently texted Thompson about what he stole, per authorities. In other news, a federal judge recently partly rejected an attempt by convicted rioter Matthew Bledsoe to delay starting his years-long sentence until after the new year, although Bledsoe asked as a back-up option for a delay until after the Thanksgiving holiday, which the judge granted. Besides familial concerns, Bledsoe also pointed to needing to spend time preparing his business to continue during his prison term, but the judge contested the idea he still needed more time for that.
Image: Brett Davis/ Creative Commons