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Matthew Martin: Man who said January 6 was ‘magical’ acquitted in US Capitol riots case


Martin, who worked for a government contractor before his arrest following the riot, successfully argued that a United States Capitol police officer waved him into the building. At least one video released during the trial appeared to show an officer moving his arm in a hand motion.

The acquittal is an important step in the massive investigation on January 6, when hundreds of people face the same crimes as Martin. Dozens of rioters claimed they were allowed into the Capitol by police officers and were unaware that it was illegal to enter the building. The not guilty verdict is likely to encourage more suspected rioters to head to trial with similar claims.

Judge Trevor McFadden, appointed by former President Donald Trump, issued the decision after a two-day trial that began on Tuesday.

McFadden said Wednesday Martin “more likely than not” committed at least one of the misdemeanors – but “close calls” go to the defendant in the US court system.

Martin was the first Capitol Riot defendant to testify in his own defense.

“If the cops weren’t letting people in, I wouldn’t have come in,” Martin said during his testimony on Wednesday. Martin described the activity outside the Capitol on Jan. 6 as a “big block party.”

“It was a magical day in so many ways,” Martin said.

Martin also told the court that at the time he did not believe the riot was violent and only later discovered that people had died.

McFadden has become one of the most skeptical federal judges of the Justice Department’s hardline approach to prosecuting riot cases.

In March, McFadden questioned whether the Justice Department had enough evidence to prove defendant Cuoy Griffin knowingly broke the law and convicted him of one of two misdemeanor charges.

More than 530 criminal cases related to January 6 are still pending.

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