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Capitol riot suspect's lawyer blames 'Fox-itis' for his client's actions: 'He believed what was being fed to him'

·3-min read
<p>A lawyer in the hearing of a man facing charges over his suspected involvement in the January events at the Capitol building said his client had been radicalised because of incessant Fox News</p> (Associated Press)

A lawyer in the hearing of a man facing charges over his suspected involvement in the January events at the Capitol building said his client had been radicalised because of incessant Fox News

(Associated Press)

A suspected rioter in the 6 January insurrection at the US Capitol Building is blaming Fox News for his actions, according to his lawyer.

Anthony Antonio, according to his lawyer Joseph Hurley, had recently become unemployed because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and spent half a year watching the channel.

According to Mr Hurley, Mr Antonio established a condition that he labelled “Foxitis” and “Foxmania” and fell victim to the unfounded claims that the 2020 Presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump. Mr Trump himself encouraged these claims of widespread voter fraud and was impeached for his role in encouraging the violence in Washington, DC in January, becoming the first president to be impeached twice.

“He believed what was being fed to him,” Mr Hurley told the hearing.

Mr Antonio is accused of shouting threatening statements at police, pouring liquid on an officer who was dragged down the steps of the Capitol and taking law enforcement equipment, such as a riot shield and gas mask. He is then alleged to have entered the building through a broken window and thrown furniture about, according to court documents.

While being interviewed by the FBI, Mr Antonio revealed that he had seen the attack on Michael Fanone, the DC Metropolitan Police officer who suffered a heart attack and a concussion, and did nothing to assist him, despite him begging for help.

“I didn’t help him when I should have,” he told the federal authorities, and remarked about the image of Mr Fanone in distress had stayed with him.

Mr Antonio has five charges against him following the riot, including violent entry, disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and destruction of government property. No plea has been submitted yet.

His defence was not the only notable incident to take place during the hearing, as proceedings were interrupted by another defendant, Landon Copeland.

Mr Copeland also faces also faces charges for his alleged role on 6 January was dialled into the virtual hearing from his home in Utah. His was arranged to be the last case heard that day.

He reportedly became vocal after Mr Hurley began discussing the supposed phenomenon of “Fox-itis” and began shouting.

“I object,” he said loudly, and was put on mute by the presiding judge. When granted sound again, he continued to yell.

“I am going to tell you the truth,” he reportedly said before beginning a loud criticism about his experience in court.

“I don’t like you people ... I don’t know who you are, you are a robot to me. I’m out here in the desert, in no-man’s-land. You can’t find me if I don’t want you to.

“You’re evil, that’s what you are. You need to shut up.”

Ryan Stott, his lawyer, said, “I don’t think he’s being belligerent intentionally,” and the judge referred him to behavioural health services for a mental health check up before any future hearings.

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