January 6 Capitol Riot Defendant Found Not Guilty After Testifying Police Let Him Into The Building

A federal judge on Wednesday found January 6 defendant Matthew Martin, who claimed police allowed him to enter the Capitol during the riot, not guilty of all charges.

A federal judge on Wednesday found a January 6 Capitol riot defendant who claimed police allowed him to enter the Capitol during the riot not guilty of all charges.

It marks the first acquittal for any defendant in cases related to the riot last year.

Matthew Martin, a former government contractor from New Mexico, admitted going into the Capitol but insisted two Capitol Police officers had waved him in through a door.

For the most part, Judge Trevor N. McFadden agreed, suggesting Martin “reasonably believed” that police officers were allowing the crowd in and found him not guilty of each of the four misdemeanors he had been charged with.

RELATED: Federal Prosecutors Admit To Violating Legal Rights Of Capitol Riot Defendant, Request Charges Be Dismissed

January 6 Defendant Not Guilty

McFadden, appointed as District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in 2017 by former President Donald Trump, suggested Martin’s behavior was “minimal and non-serious” and that he appeared to be a “silent observer.”

The New York Times notes that an acquittal based on a minimal role in the riot and associated low-level charges could embolden others to fight charges against them by going to trial rather than pleading out.

Prior to this ruling, over 200 people already pleaded guilty to misdemeanors connected to the January 6 riot. Hundreds more such cases are pending.

Matthew Martin described the events of January 6 as a “magical day.”

“It was beautiful. I will remember today for the rest of my life,” he wrote in a text message to his supervisor later in the day.

Martin would be fired from his job at the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration where he worked as a senior engineer after being charged.

But, Martin insisted that he didn’t do much of anything while he was inside the Capitol, a claim made by many charged with similar offenses.

CBS notes that video evidence backs up his claims: “Martin’s movements on January 6 were documented using CCTV footage from inside the Capitol and data, including video, from his own cell phone. Martin was not charged in connection with any of the violence seen on January 6 and was not found to be a member of any extremist groups.”

Video played at the trial, according to the Daily Mail, “appeared to show an officer moving his arm in a waving motion inside the building as the rioters moved past them.”

RELATED: Judge Slams DOJ For ‘Trampling’ Rights Of Capitol Riot Defendant – ‘No Excuse To Treat A Human Being Like That’

Rights Trampled

Federal prosecutors last month, in what was described as a “rare mistake,” admitted to violating the legal rights of a Capitol riot defendant and asked a judge to dismiss the criminal charges against him.

At issue was the right to a speedy trial for Lucas Denney of Texas, which lawyers from the U.S. Attorney’s Office admit was violated in his case.

Denney, whose charges were more egregious than those of Matthew Martin, was detained in December without bail but wasn’t transferred to Washington for six weeks.

Once there, according to a Politico report, nobody contacted the D.C. court to get a hearing for Denney for over three weeks.

A federal judge slammed the Justice Department for “trampling” Denney’s rights.

He would later plead guilty to a felony assault charge.

More than 775 people have been charged in the Capitol riot. At least two other defendants according to the Justice Department’s log remain held without bond.

Nicholas James Brockhoff was arrested in May of 2021 and pled not guilty in early September, while Ryan Samsel was arrested on January 30, 2021, but wasn’t indicted until August.

The New York Times explains that other judges are not bound by Judge McFadden’s analysis of Matthew Martin’s claims about the police.

But the latest ruling allows other January 6 defendants to consider going to trial to test the government’s cases against them rather than simply pleading guilty to misdemeanors in an attempt to move on with their lives.