Lawyers for at least three defendants charged in connection with the violent siege said they would blame election misinformation and conspiracy theories, much of it pushed by then-president Donald Trump, for misleading their clients.
The lawyers say those who spread that misinformation bore as much responsibility for the violence as did those who participated in the actual breach of the Capitol.
“I think they did a great job of convincing people,” defendant Anthony Antonio said, speaking of Mr Trump.
“I’m not blaming defence attorneys for bringing this up,” he said.
“But just because you have a fixed, false belief that the election was stolen doesn’t mean you can storm the Capitol.”
Joseph Hurley, lawyer for Anthony Antonio, said he would not use his client’s belief in false claims of election fraud in an attempt to exonerate him.
Instead, Mr Hurley will use them to argue that Mr Antonio was an impressionable person who got exploited by Mr Trump and his allies.
“You can catch this disease,” Mr Hurley said.
Misinformation, he said, “is not a defence. It’s not. But it will be brought up to say: This is why he was here. The reason he was there is because he was a dumbass and believed what he heard on Fox News.”
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