Jan. 6 prisoner Matthew Martin, 43, of Santa Fe, New Mexico, is a free man following his acquittal of all charges Wednesday, according to The Epoch Times.
U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, a President Trump appointee, issued the verdict from the bench after hearing testimony without a jury.
Martin, who was among those accused of illegally entering the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, said, “I am very thankful for the judge’s verdict, and I’m hoping to get my life back together, get my job back.”
According to The Hill, Martin did not contest that he entered the Capitol that day. Instead, he argued he did not believe he walked in illegally, testifying that a police officer waved him on into the Capitol after the riot broke out.
The judge found this claim “largely credible,” the outlet reported, noting the video evidence showed two officers were standing near the Rotunda doors and allowed protesters into the building. As Martin approached the doors, the footage showed him placing his hand on one of the officers’ shoulders in what appeared to be a show of appreciation before entering the Capitol.
Characterizing Martin’s actions as “about as minimal and non-serious” as anyone else who was at the Capitol that day, the judge stated that Martin appeared to be “a silent observer of the actions of others.”
In the end, Martin was found not guilty of four misdemeanor counts, 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.”
In an interview on Lindell TV, Martin’s attorney, Dan Cron, praised the judge for his decision, stating: “Judge McFadden had the benefit of seeing all of the footage and knowing exactly what Matt Martin did. And he didn’t do anything wrong, and the video footage supported that, and the judge absolutely came to the correct conclusion.”
Sebastian Gorka, the former deputy assistant to President Donald Trump, weighed in on the verdict, tweeting: “Can’t trespass if you have a police escort.”
Martin is the third Jan. 6 defendant to have his case resolved by trial and the first to receive a full acquittal. For other defendants, however, Martin’s case is already making waves.
According to the Washington Examiner, following Martin’s acquittal, fellow Jan. 6 defendant Shawn Witzemann backed out of a plea deal Thursday in hopes of achieving the same result. Witzemann is facing the same four charges Martin was cleared of.
As additional trials move forward, the precedent set by Martin’s case may prove helpful to other defendants seeking an acquittal. If not, they may find comfort in President Trump’s recent vow to issue pardons to unfairly-treated Jan. 6 political prisoners if he is reelected in 2024.