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The Mob Made Me Do It: Rioters Claim Jan. 6 Crowd At Fault

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This May 20, 2021, photo shows the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint and arrest warrant for Christopher Ray Grinder. At least a dozen people charged in the Jan. 6 riot have cited crowd psychology to explain their out-of-character behavior or have claimed they became trapped in the flow of the crowd and were carried against their will into the Capitol. Grider said he came to Washington on Jan. 6 with no intention of rioting. But he got caught up in the mob of angry President Donald Trump supporters as it surged into the U.S. Capitol, breaking through police barriers and smashing through doors. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

At least a dozen people charged in the Jan. 6 riot have cited crowd psychology to explain their out-of-character behavior or have claimed they became trapped in the flow of the crowd and were carried against their will into the Capitol. For some, blaming the crowd is part of an attempt to restore tarnished reputations. For others, it’s something they could broach at trial or during sentencing in bids for leniency. Judges typically don’t let defendants assert at trial that outside influences made them act as they did. Experts say most would slap down efforts to use a blame-the-crowd defense.

 

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