By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal jury began deliberating Thursday in the trial of an Ohio man who testified he was “following presidential orders” from Donald Trump when he stormed the U.S. Capitol last year.
Jurors heard closing arguments from attorneys in the trial of Dustin Byron Thompson, accused of obstructing Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory and stealing a coat rack from a Capitol office during the riots on Capitol Hill. January 6 last year.
Thompson, 38, of Columbus, Ohio, is the fifth defendant to stand trial among hundreds of Capitol riot cases. He is the first to mount a defense that blames Trump and members of the president’s inner circle for the insurrection.
Assistant U.S. Attorney William Dreher said Thompson, a college-educated exterminator who lost his job during the COVID-19 pandemic, knew he was breaking the law when he joined the mob that attacked the Capitol and, in his case, looted the seat of the senate parliamentarian. office. The prosecutor told the jury that Thompson’s attorney “wants them to think that they have to choose between President Trump and his client.”
“You don’t have to choose because this is not President Trump’s trial. This is Dustin Thompson’s trial for what he did on Capitol Hill on the evening of January 6,” Dreher said.