The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is arguing the founder and members of the Oath Keepers militia group who entered the U.S. Capitol on January 6 cannot blame former President Donald Trump for their actions.
DOJ lawyers argued Trump lacked the authority to authorize an attack on the Capitol, which should prevent Oath Keepers’ lawyers from blaming the former President.
The United States said in a filing:
President Trump did not have the authority to permit or authorize a conspiracy to forcibly oppose the authority of the government or the execution of the laws of the United States, nor could he have lawfully sanctioned the attack on the United States Capitol on Jan. 6 or any of the other criminal conduct allegedly perpetrated by defendants.
Trump’s critics often blame him for inciting the Capitol riot during a speech held hours before the breach. The House of Representatives ultimately impeached Trump in the aftermath of the Capitol riot.
Federal prosecutors also want the judge to prohibit the defendants “from arguing that any failure to act by law enforcement rendered their conduct legal.” Accused rioters often argue they were effectively let into the Capitol by members of the Capitol police.
The federal trial of Oath Keepers founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes and other members of the militia group is set to begin on September 26, Bloomberg reported.
The judge in the case recently denied Rhodes’ request to dismiss the charges against him and rejected a request to move the trial outside of Washington D.C. due to potential jury pool bias.