"He invited us": Accused Capitol rioters blame Trump in novel legal defense

“The boss of the country said, ‘People of the country, come on down, let people know what you think,'” Pezzola’s defense lawyer, Michael Scibetta, told Reuters. “The logical thinking was, ‘He invited us down.'”

Lawyers have not yet sought dismissal of charges or acquittal during a trial based on the idea that Trump incited their clients, instead making the claim as part of efforts to spare them from pretrial detention.

No defendant will be able to avoid criminal culpability by saying they were incited by Trump, said Jay Town, who served as the top federal prosecutor in Birmingham, Alabama, during the Trump administration.

“If anything, it is an admission to criminal conduct,” said Town, now the general counsel of cybersecurity firm Gray Analytics. “While this ineffective tactic may help with headlines, it will not help the fate of any defendant.”