A wealth of video evidence and self-incriminating behavior by riot defendants has given prosecutors the upper hand in many cases. Mary McCord, a Georgetown University Law Center professor and former Justice Department official, said jurors often won’t have to rely on witness testimony or circumstantial evidence because videos captured much of the violence and destruction on Jan. 6. “When I was a prosecutor trying cases, I would have loved to have had cases where the entire crime was on video. That just doesn’t happen that often. But for jurors, it can be very powerful,” she said.
Thomas Webster, a 20-year veteran of the NYPD, has claimed he was acting in self-defense when he tackled a police officer who was trying to protect the Capitol from a mob on Jan. 6, 2021. Webster’s lawyer also has argued that he was exercising his First Amendment free speech rights when he shouted profanities at police that day. Jury selection began on Monday and is expected to last most of the day.
Webster, 56, is the fourth Capitol riot defendant to get a jury trial. Each has presented a distinct line of defense.
An Ohio man who stole a coat rack from a Capitol office testified he was “following presidential orders” from Donald Trump. An off-duty police officer from Virginia claimed he only entered the Capitol to retrieve a fellow officer. A lawyer for a Texas man who confronted Capitol police accused prosecutors of rushing to judgment against somebody prone to exaggerating.
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