An Ohio man who said Donald J. Trump was responsible for his decision to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 and steal a bottle of bourbon and a wardrobe was sentenced to three years in prison on Friday, authorities said With.
In sentencing the man, Dustin Byron Thompson, 38, Judge Reggie Walton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia told Mr Thompson, who apologized and said he was ashamed of his actions, that he couldn’t understand how someone with a college degree could, according to The Associated Press, “go down the rabbit hole” and believe a lie that strongly. Judge Walton had previously said that he found Mr. Thompson’s statement that Mr. Trump was responsible for Mr. Thompson’s behavior “disingenuous.”
Mr. Thompson was convicted by a grand jury in April of obstructing an official hearing and five counts including theft of government property.
Mr Thompson, an unemployed exterminator from Columbus, based his defense on the argument that he was following orders from Mr Trump last year when he broke into the building with a pro-Trump mob and stole the items after the former president’s speech a rally that day.
An attorney for Mr Thompson, Andrew M. Stewart, did not immediately respond to an email late Friday.
In a letter to Judge Walton in September in support of her husband, Sarah Thompson said she met Mr Thompson in 2004 when they were students at Ohio State University. She said her husband had become a “victim of online disinformation” and was carried away by Mr Trump’s claim that the presidential election was stolen.
“I was naïve to the dangers of the rally, as was Dustin,” she said.
Prosecutors said Mr Thompson and a co-defendant, Robert Anthony Lyon, 28, entered a restricted area of the Capitol grounds around 2:00 p.m. on January 6, 2021. Wearing a bulletproof vest, Mr. Thompson entered the building and walked to the Senate MP’s office, where he stole the bourbon, prosecutors said.
After Capitol Police officers ordered Mr Thompson to leave the building, he returned with Mr Lyon and stole a coat rack from the same office and later sent a photo of himself posing with the coat rack to Mr Lyon, they said Prosecutors added that he had also sent Mr Lyon a message describing the dressing room as a “trophy”.
That evening, Mr Thompson was pulled over by police on the Capitol grounds while waiting for an Uber, prosecutors said. Mr Thompson fled, leaving the cloakroom behind, while Mr Lyon was arrested, prosecutors said. Mr. Thompson was arrested in Ohio later that month.
Mr. Lyon, of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, pleaded guilty in March to felony charges of stealing government property and disorderly and disruptive conduct in a locked building or compound, prosecutors said. He was sentenced in September to 40 days in prison followed by supervised release.
McKenna Oxenden contributed reporting.