WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal jury on Monday convicted a Latest York Police Department veteran of assaulting an officer during the U.S. Capitol riot, rejecting his claim that he was defending himself when he tackled the officer and grabbed his gas mask.
Thomas Webster, a 20-year NYPD veteran, was the primary Capitol riot defendant to be tried on an assault charge and the primary to present a jury with a self-defense argument.
Webster, 56, testified that he was attempting to protect himself from a “rogue cop” who punched him within the face. He also accused the Metropolitan Police Department officer, Noah Rathbun, of instigating the confrontation.
Rathbun testified that he didn’t punch or pick a fight with Webster as a violent mob attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, disrupting Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential election victory over then-President Donald Trump.
Webster’s jury trial was the fourth for a Capitol riot case. The primary three defendants to get a jury trial were convicted of all charges of their respective indictments. A judge decided two other cases and not using a jury, acquitting considered one of the defendants and partially acquitting the opposite.
A grand jury indicted Webster on six counts, including a charge that he assaulted Rathbun with a dangerous weapon, a metal flag pole. Webster wasn’t accused of entering the Capitol on Jan. 6.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Jurors deliberated on Monday within the federal trial of a Latest York Police Department veteran charged with assaulting an officer who tried to guard the Capitol from an attacking insurrectionist mob last yr.
Thomas Webster, a 20-year NYPD veteran, is the primary Capitol riot defendant to be tried on an assault charge and the primary to present a jury with a self-defense argument.
Jurors heard attorneys’ closing arguments on Friday and went home for the weekend about half-hour after getting the case. They returned to court on Monday morning.
Webster’s jury trial, which began April 26, is the fourth for a Capitol riot case. The primary three defendants to get a jury trial were convicted of all charges of their respective indictments. A judge decided two other cases and not using a jury, acquitting one defendant and partially acquitting the opposite after bench trials.
Webster, 56, is charged with assaulting Metropolitan Police Department Officer Noah Rathbun with a dangerous weapon, a metal flagpole, in the course of the Jan. 6, 2021, riot.
Videos show Webster swing his metal flagpole at police, charge at Rathbun after which grab the officer’s gas mask with each hands.
Webster testified on Thursday that he was attempting to protect himself from Rathbun after the officer punched him within the face. Webster also accused Rathbun of creating a hand gesture that Webster perceived as an invite to fight.
Rathbun testified that he didn’t punch or pick a fight with Webster. Rathbun’s body camera captured Webster shouting profanities and insults before they made any physical contact. Rathbun said he was attempting to move Webster back from a security perimeter that he and other officers were struggling to take care of.
Prosecutors urged jurors to reject Webster’s self-defense argument and convict him of all six charges in his indictment.
Webster, who lives near Goshen, Latest York, retired from the NYPD in 2011. He served within the U.S. Marine Corps from 1985 to 1989 before joining the NYPD in 1991.
The violent Jan. 6 mob, loyal to then-President Donald Trump, stormed the Capitol in an try and overturn the 2020 presidential election, undercut the nation’s democracy and keep Democrat Joe Biden from replacing the Republican within the White House.
Greater than 780 people have been charged with riot-related federal crimes. The Justice Department says greater than 245 of them have been charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.