A federal judge found a Jan. 6 defendant who entered the Capitol not guilty on all charges after he said he was waved in by two Capitol Police officers. The decision lays down the groundwork to push back against the Department of Justice’s charge that the hundreds of people on Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, 2021 deserve to be punished.
U.S. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden acquitted Matthew Martin of all misdemeanor charges on Wednesday after he said it was “plausible” that the defendant “reasonably believed” he had permission to be in the Capitol.
Martin made the trek to Washington D.C. after he saw a tweet from former President Donald Trump in December 2020 encouraging supporters to come to his rally. Martin said he entered the Capitol when he was “let in” by two U.S. Capitol Police officers who waved him through a doorway. In his testimony, Martin said law enforcement officers did not try to stop him from entering the building.
McFadden established that Martin’s involvement in the event in the Capitol was “minimal and not serious.” He also said that video evidence shows that “quiet” and “orderly” Martin was merely a “silent observer” instead of an active participant who entertained any of the crowd’s rowdy antics.
When the Sante Fe, N.M., man was arrested a year ago in April of 2021, he faced a myriad of charges including “entering and remaining in a restricted building; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building; violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building; and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.”
As a result, Martin lost his job as a senior engineer at a company that does work for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Now that he was found not guilty on all counts, Martin hopes he can get his job back.
“I am very thankful for the judge’s verdict and I’m hoping that I can my life back, I can get my job back,” he said in an interview after the judge’s ruling.
“Martin did not break the law,” the defendant’s lawyer stated. “And we had the benefit of a lot of video evidence, and the judge had a chance to see it. And video evidence is the best evidence, and he did nothing wrong.”
The acquittal comes hours after reports that President Joe Biden’s DOJ requested extra funds from Congress to prosecute Americans who were present on Capitol grounds on Jan. 6.