A federal judge on Wednesday said the speakers at the “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol attack, including former President Trump, “stoked” the crowd and possibly “inspired” what went down that day, according to a CNN report.
District Judge Amy Berman Jackson made the remarks while sentencing defendant Russell Peterson, who reportedly sat in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) chair after storming the Capitol on Jan. 6. He was arrested on Feb. 12 and entered a plea agreement in September.
Jackson, without saying the former president’s name directly, said that Trump and the other speakers at the rally on the Ellipse “explicitly encouraged them to go to the Capitol and fight for one reason and one reason only — to make sure the certification of the election didn’t happen.”
“There may be others who bear greater responsibility and should be held accountable,” Jackson told Peterson, according to CNN. “But this is not their day in court. It’s yours.”
“You did receive a lot of overwhelming inaccurate information on social media,” the judge continued, “but you had a choice to reject the lies and not to join the antidemocratic call for martial law.”
Jackson is known for her sharp criticisms of the Trump administration and has handled numerous Capitol riot cases so far. She has rejected defense attempts to paint the rioters as political prisoners.
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