Alan Dershowitz, who is representing a January 6 defendant facing roughly 20 years in prison, told The Daily Wire in an interview Wednesday that the acquittal of Capitol riot defendant Matthew Martin is “enormously important,” sets a legal precedent, and could swing momentum in favor of his legal team.
A federal judge acquitted Martin, a former government contractor at a nuclear weapons laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico, on all charges Wednesday. Martin argued that police let him enter the Capitol and that he was waved into the building, The Daily Wire reported.
Brady Knowlton, who Dershowitz is representing, spent 18 minutes in the Capitol on January 6 after he and others passed several police officers walking in their opposite direction, The Daily Wire reported. Knowlton told The Daily Wire that an officer said, “You can go in as long as you don’t break anything,” before watching police and protestors shaking hands.
Dershowitz said that “the subjective intent of the defendant is key,” noting that the judge took Martin’s word over that of the police and the prosecution. The courts “have to look at the state of mind of the defendant,” he said.
“If that’s the rule, we will win,” he said. “Because it’s clear Brady honestly and reasonably believed that he was not violating any rules or laws — that he was being welcomed — as long as he didn’t do any damage.”
There are now three January 6 defendants who have resolved their cases in a trial — but Martin is the first to be acquitted of all charges. The defendant was charged with entering and remaining in a restricted building, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building, violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, and parading, and demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.
Knowlton has been charged with similar misdemeanors to Martin. He faces about 20 years in prison, as the DOJ uses statute 1512 in the U.S. code to prosecute him for obstruction of a congressional “proceeding.”
Knowlton’s attorneys, who include Harvard Law School professor Ronald Sullivan, say his law degree has been withheld by The University of Denver. Around the same time, Airbnb banned him and his wife, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection removed his Global Entry access, according to emails obtained by The Daily Wire.
There was a status hearing for Knowlton’s case in March. The court ordered the prosecution and defense to submit a status report by May 20, said Sullivan.
The DOJ did not respond to a request for comment.