He’s not the first alleged Capitol rioter to try the “Blame Trump” defense, but this Connecticut man might be the most aggressive yet.
Patrick Edward McCaughey III, 28, was charged last month with a slew of crimes, including assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers, for his role in the siege. Specifically, he is accused of pinning a police officer against a doorway with a riot shield. But in a Monday motion for his release, his lawyers allege former President Donald Trump is “somewhat of a de facto un-indicted co-conspirator in this case” and thus his client should not be totally blamed for the violent incident.
The motion adds that the 28-year-old came to the Capitol with his father to support Trump and “to implore his Representatives in Congress to investigate the many outstanding allegations of election fraud before they voted to certify the electors for President Biden.” Prosecutors allege McCaughey, who is being held in custody pending trial, is seen in photos and videos pinning an officer between a police riot shield and a Capitol door as he tried to storm the building—even as the cop cried out in pain.
A lawyer for Matthew Ryan Miller, a 21-year-old Maryland construction worker who allegedly threw a fire extinguisher at police during the riots, also wrote Monday that his client was “was merely following the directions of then-President Trump, the country’s chief law enforcement officer.” He has no criminal record and his actions were an “extreme aberration,” the attorney added. Likewise, a court filing for Seattle Proud Boy leader Ethan Nordean on Sunday insisted he was “egged on by Donald Trump, other politicians, his legal advocates, and news media.” Nordean was granted release on Monday pending trial.
It remained unclear on Monday afternoon if McCaughey’s appeal to share blame would be successful. If nothing else, the timing was right: Trump goes on trial in the U.S. Senate for inciting the riot on Tuesday.