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Judge Dismisses Capitol Rioter's Defence That Donald Trump 'Directed' Him To Do It

Judge Dismisses Capitol Rioter's Defence That Donald Trump 'Directed' Him To Do It

The Proud Boys member's defence counsel said he was only following Trump said they 'must do'

Tom Wood

Tom Wood

A judge has rejected the defence of a man involved with the Capitol Building riots of January 6 after he said that he was only doing what former President Donald Trump told him to.

William Chrestman, a member of the far-right extremist Proud Boys group stands accused of storming into the US seat of government at the beginning of the year, and he has been charged with conspiracy to civil disorder, threatening to assault federal law enforcement, and entering a restricted area with a weapon.

However, he says that he was only following the orders of his president.

According to documents filed to the court, Chrestman was seen in several pieces of video footage from the event.

While standing outside the building - home to the two houses of US government - he was allegedly heard to tell the crowds to 'take your house back'.


The prosecution also claims that Chrestman shouted at police officers: "You shoot and I'll take your f***ing ass out."

In the aforementioned footage, Chrestman was allegedly seen wielding a club or an axe handle that he used at one stage to stop the police from closing metal barriers to seal off a part of building.

He is amongst a number of Proud Boys members, including their leader Enrique Tarrio, that have been charged after the events in Washington DC.

In another court filing, Chrestman has been described as the leader of the Proud Boys faction of Kansas City.

Negotiating for his pre-trial release, Chrestman's lawyers have argued that he has no criminal liability because they were just following the instructions of the president at the time.


Kirk Redmond and Chekasha Ramsey said: "Trump told the assembled rabble what they must do,"

This, they argued, means that he was not likely to flee his trial and had a strong defence.

They continued: "The American head of state directed a specific action,

"Those who obeyed him have a viable defense against criminal liability."

The lawyers also said that Chrestman poses no threat to society because he has given up his guns and the Proud Boys are 'enfeebled' after the arrest of their leader.

They also commented that the whole saga had given their client 'clarity of perspective'.

The pair added: "Only someone who thought they had an official endorsement would even attempt such a thing.

"And a Proud Boy who had been paying attention would very much believe he did."

They also referenced the now-infamous 'stand back and stand by' speech Trump gave at a presidential debate in September 2020.

However, the judge was less keen on this argument.


According to Politico, Judge Beryl Howell said: "This purported defence, if recognised, would undermine the rule of law,"

"If President Trump ordered or instructed a member of the Proud Boys [to] go off and murder somebody and someone went off and did that, it follows that... would immunise them from liability for that criminal act.

"In effect, isn't that what your argument is saying?"

Howell reversed the decision to let Chrestman spend the time before his trial at home, stating that he 'cannot be trusted to abide by any condition for release the court might impose instead of pretrial detention'.

She added: "I don't find this case to be a close call at all."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: World News, US News, Donald Trump, Weird, Politics