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A Polk City man charged in connection with the U.S. Capitol riot is arguing that he believed he had permission from former President Donald Trump to enter the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, 2021.
A lawyer for Joshua Doolin submitted a letter to prosecutors on Sunday giving notice that he may assert a “public authority defense” in his trial, which is scheduled to begin March 6 in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Under that defense, Doolin could claim that he was “acting under actual or believed public authority at the time of some of the alleged offenses,” lawyer Allen Orenberg of Potomac, Maryland, wrote in the letter.
Doolin believed that “he was directed and authorized to go to the Capitol building and enter the Capitol Grounds by Donald J. Trump and his various agents and representatives,” Orenberg wrote.
Doolin, 24, is charged with disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds and theft of government property, among other alleged crimes. He has been free on bond with restrictions since his arrest in June 2021.
Other Jan. 6 defendants have asserted the public authority defense in their trials, including Stewart Rhodes, leader of the Oath Keepers, a far-right militia group. Rhodes is now on trial, facing charges of seditious conspiracy.
Some defendants have been convicted by juries after claiming they believed they had permission from Trump to be at the U.S. Capitol.
Orenberg also submitted a pre-trial motion Sunday asking Judge Carl Nichols to prevent prosecutors from using certain words or phrases at his trial: “rioters,” “breach,” “confrontation,” “anti-government extremism,” “insurrectionists” and “mob.”
“Mr. Doolin also seeks to limit the government from referencing Mr. Doolin as an ‘Anti-government extremist’ or utilizing captions on photos, videos, or exhibits referencing the same,” Orenberg wrote.
Saying that Doolin has reason to believe the prosecution may seek to portray him as an anti-government extremist, Orenberg wrote that “character is not in issue and has no relevance to the crimes charged.”
Doolin is one of six current or former Polk County residents indicted in relation to the U.S. Capitol riot. He is being prosecuted collectively with three friends or relatives: Olivia Pollock of Lakeland; Joseph Hutchinson III, formerly of Lakeland and now living in Georgia; and Michael Perkins of Plant City.
Pollock’s younger brother, Jonathan Pollock, faces multiple felony charges and remains a fugitive sought by the FBI.
Authorities have charged approximately 900 people in all 50 states with crimes related to the U.S. Capitol attack, according to the Department of Justice. Nearly 450 have pled guilty, and 23 have been convicted in trials.
This article originally appeared on The Ledger: Polk City man claims authority from Trump to be at U.S. Capitol