A judge has acquitted a man who admitted to entering the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6th after successfully arguing police let him through. U.S. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden found New Mexico engineer Matthew Martin not guilty following a two-day bench trial.
Martin was arrested last year and was charged with entering and staying in an off-limits building, as well as disorderly and disruptive conduct.
The Washington Examiner reports:
Though prosecutors tried to argue Martin should have known better as he walked past “ARE CLOSED” signs and proceeded to record and encounter the chaos taking place, McFadden said during his decision that Martin’s “plausible” belief outweighed the arguments, according to the outlet.
Based on video footage McFadden had viewed, he said he wasn’t positive that Martin had been waved into the building by an officer. McFadden said his understanding of the footage was that Martin had waited to be allowed to enter the building while the office spoke with another person, and he entered the building after he tapped the officer causing him to lean back, according to the outlet.
Martin said during the trial that if he had to repeat that day over, he would stay away from the Capitol.
Martin’s acquittal marks the first Jan. 6th defendant to be found not guilty as Democrats continue to push for harsh sentences for those who unlawfully entered the Capitol building.
In March a federal grand jury found Guy Reffitt guilty on multiple counts. Judge McFadden also found “Cowboys for Trump” co-founder guilty on March 17, marking the second conviction in Jan. 6 cases.