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Judge says Trump, others 'stoked the flames of fear' for Jan. 6 riots

Judge says Trump, others 'stoked the flames of fear' for Jan. 6 riots
District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said Wednesday that former President Donald Trump and others "stoked the flames of fear" in rallies ahead of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. File Pool Photo by Shawn Thew/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 1 (UPI) -- A federal judge on Wednesday said that organizers and speakers at the "Stop the Steal" rally on Jan. 6 helped prompt the violence that occurred in the riots at the U.S. Capitol that followed.

District Judge Amy Berman Jackson did not mention former President Donald Trump by name but referred to his remarks during the rally as she said the efforts of its participants "deliberately stoked the flames of fear and discontent and explicitly encouraged [atendees] to go to the Capitol and fight for one reason and one reason only: to make sure the certification of the election didn't happen."

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Jackson's comments came during the sentencing of rioter Russell Peterson, whose attorneys argued Trump and other allies bore responsibility for the actions of the rioters.

Peterson was sentenced to 30 days in prison, twice the jail time requested by prosecutors, and ordered to pay $500 for damage done to the Capitol building. He was charged with illegally entering the Capitol.

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While Jackson acknowledged the role of Trump and others in encouraging the rioters, she noted that Peterson is an adult who was responsible for his own actions on Jan. 6.

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"No one was swept away to the Capitol. No one was carried," she said. "There may be others who bear greater responsibility and should be held accountable. But this is not their day in court. It's yours."

Jackson cited social media posts on Peterson's accounts before and after Jan. 6 including one in which he said he "had fun" during the riots as reasons for his sentencing.

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Capitol Hill police salute the passing of the funeral hearse on Sunday for slain Officer Brian Sicknick, who died in the rioting at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo

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