By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — An Ohio man who claimed he was just “following presidential orders” from Donald Trump when he stormed the U.S. Capitol was swiftly convicted Thursday of obstructing Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory. .
In less than three hours, a federal jury also found 38-year-old Dustin Byron Thompson guilty of five other crimes, including stealing a coat rack from an office inside the Capitol during the Jan. 6 riots of last year. The maximum sentence for the obstruction charge, the only felony, is 20 years in prison.
Jurors rejected Thompson’s novel defense, in which he blamed Trump and members of the president’s inner circle for the insurrection and his own actions.
The judge didn’t buy that defense either, though he blamed Trump after the verdict was announced.
“I think our democracy is in trouble,” District Judge Reggie Walton said, adding that “quacks” like Trump don’t care about democracy, only about power.
“And as a result of that, he is tearing our country apart,” the judge said.