On Wednesday, a January 6 defendant was acquitted on all charges after convincing a federal judge that he “reasonably believed” he was let into the Capitol building by U.S. Capitol Police Officers.

Matthew Martin, an engineer from New Mexico, was charged with four misdemeanors: disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building, entering and remaining in a restricted building, violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.

So far, over 770 people have been charged with January 6th-related federal crimes. Over 240 have pleaded guilty, and over 140 have been sentenced. Martin, however, was the first Jan 6 defendant to argue that the Capitol Police allowed him to enter the building. He was also the recipient of the first outright acquittal of a Jan 6 defendant.

Surveillance footage captured Matthew Martin inside the Capitol building on Jan 6

Martin testified that he “went with the flow” towards the Capitol building and that he saw a police officer wave him in.

U.S. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden ruled that Martin’s claims were “plausible” because police officers weren’t making any attempt to stop him or those around him.

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“People were streaming by and the officers made no attempt to stop the people,” McFadden said. “I do think the defendant reasonably believed the officers allowed him into the Capitol.”

The Judge also said that Martin’s conduct in the Capitol – which he was only in for about 10 minutes – was “about as minimal and not serious as I can imagine.”

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WATCH as Capitol Police Officers let protestors into the building on Jan 6:

 

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