Judge Trevor N. McFadden, a Federal Judge for the District of Columbia, just found a former Energy Department contract engineer, Matthew Martin, not guilty of trespassing and disorderly conduct!
Now why is that significant? Because Martin was one the MAGA men involved in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. And why is it that Martin was let off? Well that’s because he, accoring the judge, made a plausible argument that police officers allowed him into the building.
YikesToday, reporting on the awesome news, said that:
Martin was facing four misdemeanor charges for illegally entering the U.S. Capitol and engaging in disorderly conduct. Martin was working for a private defense contractor at the National Laboratory in Los Alamos and had top-secret clearance at the time of the Capitol attack, and he successfully argued that a US Capitol police officer waved him into the building after the riot erupted. He was fired after being charged.
The judge said Martin appeared to be a ‘silent observer of the actions of others.’ McFadden did not find any evidence that Martin intended to disrupt Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s electoral victory. Dozens of Capitol riot defendants have pleaded guilty and been sentenced, but Martin is the first to testify at a trial.
Martin’s acquittal could embolden others to gamble on a bench trial, although McFadden so far is the only judge to preside over one and decide a case.
Shawn Witzemann, who faces four misdemeanor charges, was scheduled to plead guilty next week, but he changed his mind after U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, an appointee of President Donald Trump, found Martin not guilty during a bench trial.
“He didn’t want to plead guilty to begin with, but he was afraid to trust the judicial system in D.C.,” Womack said, because of the court’s proximity to the Capitol and the impact the attack on Jan. 6, 2021, had on Washington residents. But “seeing that the judge did the right thing” in the Martin case affected his thinking, Womack said.
About 384 people like Martin face only misdemeanor counts in the Capitol siege — or roughly half of the more than 770 people federally charged. About 150 of more than 200 people who have pleaded guilty have admitted to misdemeanor offenses only, typically to nonviolent counts such as entering or remaining in restricted Capitol buildings or grounds, or illegal picketing, parading or demonstrating.
“He seemed quite quiet and orderly,” McFadden said. “He did not shout. He did not raise his flag.” McFadden also said that while Martin was in the Capitol, he spent much of the time making videos with his phone, which the judge said wasn’t much different than what members of the press were doing.
McFadden called the first charge against Martin, knowingly entering in and remaining in a restricted area, a “close call.” The judge added: “But under our system of justice close calls go to the defendant.”
Now this is significant, at least potentially. Maybe Judge McFadden was just being lenient and others like Martin will end up in jail. But that seems unlikely. Rather, what seems more likely and what makes this significant is that the logic is sound and it seems like Martin and many others shouldn’t be locked up for their supposed “crimes.”
Now let’s see where this goes and if Team MAGA manages to use this to reverse the tide of anti-Trump convictions that the left and its anti-Trump allies hope to use the January 6th unrest to bring about!