Capitol rioter blames ‘Foxitis’ addiction to Fox News for 6 January riot

·2 min read
<p>In this 6 January, 2021 file photo, Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington. With riot cases flooding into Washington’s federal court, the Justice Department is under pressure to quickly resolve the least serious cases.</p> ( (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File))

In this 6 January, 2021 file photo, Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington. With riot cases flooding into Washington’s federal court, the Justice Department is under pressure to quickly resolve the least serious cases.

( (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File))

Anthony Antonio, who is accused of being part of the 6 January Capitol riot, apologised and claimed part of what inspired him was a steady stream of misinformation coming from conservative TV news and former President Donalf Trump.

His lawyers have previously said he had a case of “Fox-itis” from watching too much Fox News and believed the election was stolen.

"I shouldn’t have been there that day. I shouldn’t have been involved on those Capitol steps," Mr Antonio, 27, told CNN on Monday, telling anchor Chris Cuomo he "got wrapped up in what was being told to me, and what was on TV”.

The network’s hosts and guests made frequent, baseless allegations that the 2020 presidential election wasn’t legitimate throughout election season.

Mr Antonio is charged with five crimes including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and hasn’t entered a plea.

"As of right now, I acknowledge, I know that Joe Biden is our president. That’s not a mystery; that’s a fact. But, I felt like, maybe I believed that America was being robbed of a president," Mr Antonio added. "And I now know that that was a lie."

Fox News did not respond immediately respond to a request for comment from The Independent.

Previously, the man’s lawyer, Joseph Hurley, said that Mr Antonio lost his job at the beginning of the pandemic and developed “Fox-itis” and “Fox-mania” after spending months watching the conservative news network.

“He believed what was being fed to him," Mr Hurley said last week at a virtual court hearing.

Mr Antonio, a Delaware native, began watching the network after moving in with new roommates in Chicago during the pandemic.

Eventually, prosecutors allege he joined in on the Capitol riot, where he allegedly wore a bullet-proof with the patch of the right-wing Three Percenter extremist group, and took an officer’s riot shield and mask.

“You want war? We got war. 1776 all over again,” he told police, according to an affidavit.

Among the hundreds charged with being part of the riot, a number have suggested to little avail they were influenced by outside factors like comments from former president Trump, claiming they were “duped” or “inspired” by his repeated conspiracy theories about the election.

Democratic members of Congress have taken that proposition one step further, suing the former president and his associates directly for inciting the riot.

Jason Miller, a Trump senior advisor, has said in response to the suits that the president didn’t organise “did not incite or conspire to incite any violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6th”.

As of last Thursday, 440 people have been arrested in connection with the riots, and 100 more could be charged, according to federal officials, who called the Capitol case “the most complex investigation ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice”.

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