Is anyone surprised that some of the January 6 insurrectionists are trying to use Tucker Carlson’s stunt as a “get out of jail free” card? Carlson’s sole point in airing video he purposefully selected from hours of footage was an attempt to change the narrative of what happened that day. Carlson’s stunt has failed miserably but leave it to defense attorneys to try to make something out of nothing.
CNN reported last week that Roger Roots, who represents Dominic Pezzola (a Proud Boy), asked the court to throw out all charges in the seditious conspiracy. Roots based his request on what he termed “exculpatory evidence,” referring to the portion showing Jacob Chansley (a/k/a Jake Angeli), the so-called QAnon Shaman, which has nothing to do with Pezzola. There are several things wrong with this request.
First, the officer involved wanted those people out of the Capitol. If lying to them worked, so be it. Second, let’s say for the sake of argument that the officer did make the alleged comment to Chansley. What does that have to do with Pezzola? His own lawyer claims that the Proud Boys never entered the Senate chamber. Technically, then, anything said to anyone inside doesn’t apply to them, good or bad. Besides, they are charged with conspiracy, which may be likened to being charged as an accessory to murder: You didn’t pull the trigger, but you drove the gunman to his victim. Under criminal law, you are just as guilty. The Proud Boys took advantage of the nonsensical beliefs of these people to help rile them up.
As far as Chansley goes, though CNN reported that his attorney did not see the video prior to sentencing, it changes nothing. Chansley pled guilty to obstruction. He admitted his guilt at sentencing, and that is that. He needs to spend all his 41 months in prison. Those people knew they had no right to be inside the Capitol that day, and no new video eliminates the almost four hours’ worth of violence depicted in various documentaries and shown by the media. It’s all bullshit. Federal prosecutors agree.
CNN reported that in filings made Sunday, federal prosecutors relied on the fact that Carlson chose what he wanted to show, which did not include the entirety of events that day. According to those filings, Chansley was involved in a half-hour standoff with police and refused to leave on his own. He was forcibly removed. So much for claims made by his defense. Prosecutors pointed out that one officer was trying to deescalate the situation and was with Chansley when he made it onto the Senate floor, but they went on to say: “The televised footage fails to show that Chansley subsequently refused to be escorted out by this lone officer and instead left the Capitol only after additional officers arrived and forcibly escorted him out.”
Carlson’s hand-picked footage changes nothing for these defendants. Carlson knew his choice of footage would create controversy, and he moved forward with it just to make some twisted point. Nice try by these attorneys, but this footage buys them nothing.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years