Chrestman’s attorneys have pointed to several cases in the Supreme Court that they believe the instructions of government officials can sometimes provide protection against criminal proceedings. Trump’s encouragement was said to have been so clear to those who were forced to enter the Capitol during the January 6 count of the Electoral College’s votes.
“Only one who thought he had received official approval can try this.” And a proud boy who has paid attention will very much believe that he does. ”Chrestman’s attorneys, Kirk Redmond and Chekasha Ramsey, wrote in a lawsuit filed last week.
Defense attorneys also cite a statement by Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell following Trump’s indictment hearing that those besieging the Capitol “believed they were acting according to the wishes and instructions of their president.”
Howell called the defense argument “interesting enough,” but it soon turned out he was deeply skeptical of his legal merits. During the 2016 campaign, he made Trump’s famous remark that he could shoot someone on New York City’s 5th Avenue and get away, asking defense attorneys to assess the consequences of their position.
“If President Trump ordered or instructed a member of the Proud Boys [to] goes and kills someone and someone goes and does that, it follows that … would you protect them from liability for the crime? … Isn’t that what your argument really says? the judge asked Redmond.
– I do not think so. … That doesn’t cover all defendants, ”Redmond replied.
According to Howell, in the 1965 Supreme Court case, Chrestman’s team quoted Cox v. Louisiana, addressed the issue of where protesters could stand on the sidewalk, and there was nothing like stopping a joint session of Congress. “In this case, I would say that an instruction from a federal official to interrupt a constitutionally authorized function is far different from an administrative decision of a traffic nature,” the judge said.
Chrestman is facing a number of crimes, including conspiracy to intervene in police during civil disorder and to obstruct formal proceedings. He also indicted police threats while carrying dangerous weapons. Prosecutors say he had an ax handle during the riot, preventing the emergency shutters that police tried to close to protect themselves. He is also said to have urged the crowd to prevent officers from arresting one of the protesters.
Last week, a federal court judge in Kansas City, Canada, ordered Chrestman to be placed under house arrest pending trial. On Sunday, however, Howell complied with the government’s request to keep the release order pending consideration of the issue.
Howell decided to release two defendants whom the government wanted to detain while temporarily blocking a series of judicial releases across the country and eventually ordered that some of these people be detained pending trial or other settlement of their case.
At the end of Tuesday’s hearing, Howell said it was obvious to him that Chrestman was in the category of not being released.
“You can’t be confident that you will comply with a single condition of release that a court can impose instead of pre-trial detention,” the judge said. – I do not consider this case a strict call at all.
Howell said the fact that Chrestman “came to DC with a gas mask, hard helmet, and club” strongly suggested that he expect a violent confrontation. He also said the Proud Boys ’relationship with the group means it’s dangerous.
– You call it an organization. I call it a gang, ”the judge told Redmond. “The fact that the [Chrestman] still a member of the Proud Boys, enough danger, right?
In a series of court trials over the Capitol riots that flooded the court, just a few blocks from the scene of the January 6 violence, the chief judge sometimes offered a strong condemnation of the attack and deplored the episode’s disruption to city and country life.
That was the case again on Tuesday when Howell regretted the security fence and the deployment of National Guard troops while observing that Chrestman’s trip to Washington last month was not considered an ordinary tourist.
“He didn’t plan to see the venues that are now completely open to barbed wire citizens living in this city,” the judge said. “He didn’t come to walk around the reflective pool and see the sites and monuments.
Howell – who served as a lawyer on the Senate Judiciary Committee for years before President Barack Obama appointed him to the bench in 2010 – suggested he eagerly anticipate removing these safety blinds, but wasn’t sure when or if he would be safe. to do this.
“Are the people who want to come to DC, the Americans who want to visit the Capitol, ever able to walk where we used to walk freely?” Asked. – Not clear, shockingly unclear.