Federal Judge Rules First Jan 6 Defendant Not Guilty on All Charges as Matthew Martin Acquitted

A federal judge has found the first defendant not guilty on all charges in the January 6 Capitol riot case.

Matthew Martin, a federal defense contractor with a top-secret security clearance who admitted he entered the Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot, was acquitted on all charges at a bench trial in Washington D.C. today.

After a two-day bench trial, Martin was acquitted by U.S. District Court Judge Trevor N. McFadden, a Trump appointee who has convicted other Jan. 6 defendants.

Martin lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico and was arrested in April 2021.

He faced charges of 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.

But Judge McFadden ruled that Martin “reasonably believed” police officers let him into the US Capitol during th riot saying it is “plausible” that Martin believed he had permission to enter the building because the police didn’t try to stop him from entering.

Scott MacFarlane reported:

“Judge cites Martin’s silence while in Capitol, video indicating police didn’t physically block Martin as he entered doorway near officers, and calls it a ‘close call’ on charge of entering restricted building.

“Judge says close calls… go to the defendant

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“Martin tells me he’s grateful.  And just hopes he can get his job back.

“He’s a contractor in New Mexico working with Los Alamos.”

McFadden said that Martin’s conduct was “minimal and non-serious” compared to others.

From Buzzfeed:

The crux of Martin’s defense was that, in his own words, he was “let in” by two US Capitol Police officers who were standing in the doorway when he entered and made no attempt to stop him.

He argued that one of the officers waved him through, and his lawyer showed a zoomed in video that appeared to show the officer making gestures with his hands; from the vantage point of the courtroom gallery, it wasn’t clear who the officer was gesturing to or why.

…McFadden said he wasn’t convinced that one of the officers actually waved Martin in. But his interpretation of the video was that Martin had waited to enter while the officer leaned forward to speak with another person, and then leaned back, reopening the passageway; Martin tapped the officer on the shoulder and the officer leaned back further.

The judge said he found Martin “largely credible” in his description of events, although he also thought the defendant “shaded” his testimony at times and minimized his actions.

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By David Hawkins

David Hawkins is a writer who specializes in political commentary and world affairs. He's been writing professionally since 2014.

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