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A Republican-appointed federal judge on Thursday slammed former President Donald Trump as a “charlatan” who’s not interested in preserving democracy, following the latest trial for a January 6 rioter that ended with a guilty verdict.
U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, said “we have charlatans, like the former President, in my view, who don’t care about democracy and only care about power,” according to multiple reports.
Walton made the statement shortly after Dustin Thompson, a 38-year-old Ohio exterminator, was found guilty on six charges relating to breaching the Capitol on January 6, 2021, and stealing items inside, specifically liquor and a coat rack.
Thompson claimed in his defense that he felt he was manipulated by Trump and “following presidential orders” to invade the Capitol, testifying: “If the president’s giving you almost an order to do something, I felt obligated to do that.”
Walton denied a request from Thompson’s attorney to call Trump and Rudy Giuliani as witnesses.
Walton served two stints on the D.C. Superior Court before becoming a federal judge—his first appointment came from President Ronald Reagan and the next came from President George H.W. Bush.
Thursday’s verdicts mark the end of the third jury trial for a January 6 defendant, all of which have ended in guilty verdicts on all counts. A judge also found a New Mexico elected official guilty of illegally entering U.S. Capitol grounds in the sole bench trial so far, but acquitted him on a misdemeanor charge of engaging in disorderly conduct. According to the Justice Department, at least 775 people have been arrested for taking part in the January 6 rioting, and just over 200 have pleaded guilty, meaning more than 500 trials related to January 6 could take place in the future.
A federal judge last month said Trump “more likely than not” committed felony obstruction in his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. Judge David Carter made the remarks in a ruling that granted the January 6 Committee access to emails from former Trump legal adviser John Eastman.