‘Insanity plea’: Lawyer for pitchfork-wielding Jan. 6 rioter says blinded by MAGA ‘cult’

The attorney for a pitchfork-wielding Jan. 6 rioter hopes to win his client a lighter sentence with the same argument social media uses to explain former MAGA’s infatuation with President Donald Trump — it’s a cult.

Months after Christopher Brian Roe, 39, pleaded guilty to felony assault, attorney Stephen Moss filed a sentencing memo Monday asking the court to consider two papers: “Cult Members and the Insanity Plea” and “Seeking Evidence of The MAGA Cult and Trump Derangement Syndrome.”

“Trump’s supporters ‘consistently shifted their attitudes to more closely match ostensible opinions and the real-life interests of Trump,'” Moss writes. “A cult can ‘catalyze the formation of shared psychotic disorder’ because it involves a dominant, charismatic leader who dictates the beliefs, actions, and behaviors of followers.”

Moss uses this argument to explain why a Missouri grocery store butcher and father of a special needs toddler would risk his freedom by descending on the U.S. Capitol in 2021 with a pitch fork, zip ties and duct tape.

Roe, who pleaded guilty in November to three felony charges, also admits to pushing two cops, entering the Capitol building multiple times and using a bike rack as a battering ram, according to the Justice Department.

Moss notes Roe attended Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6 after listening to months worth of false claims that the 2020 election had been rigged.

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“Trump warned his supporters, ‘If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore,’” Moss reminds the court. “Trump asserted ‘When you catch somebody in fraud, you’re allowed to go by very different rules.’”

Ross believed Trump’s words because of the former president’s dominating influence, Moss argues, citing a study that found half his voters would be willing to subvert democracy for his benefit.

“Trump’s stolen election claim has become a core article of faith,” Moss writes. “Results lend credence to “accusations that some Trump supporters have a cult-like loyalty.”

Roe is slated to face sentencing on March 5.


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