Capitol riot defendants use journalism as defense against charges

Eight people charged in cases related to the Capitol riot on Jan. 6 are using journalism as part of their defense, the Associated Press reported.

The defendants do not work at any mainstream outlets and do not have proper credentials that journalist are required to obtain.

Instead, the defendants are behind right-winged websites which include Infowars and platforms called "Murder the Media News," “Political Trance Tribune,” “Insurgence USA,” and “Thunderdome TV,” according to the Associated Press. 

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One defendant told authorities his work involved livestreaming protests. He is charged with joining the demonstration at the Capitol.

Journalism experts said such definitions were too broad given the lack of credentials and the fact that the defendants were breaking the law by storming the Capitol.

“But while the internet has given more people a platform to use their voice, the definition of a “journalist” is not that broad when put into practice in court,” said Lucy Dalglish, dean of the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism, in the Associated Press report. 

“You are, at that point, an activist with a cellphone, and there were a lot of activists with copyrighted videos who sold them to news organizations,” Dalglish said. “That doesn’t make them journalists.”

Federal prosecutors have charged hundreds of people for storming the Capitol on Jan. 6 in support of President TrumpDonald TrumpOhio Republican who voted to impeach Trump says he won't seek reelection Youngkin breaks with Trump on whether Democrats will cheat in the Virginia governor's race Trump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race MORE’s unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud in the election and interrupting Congress’ certification of President BidenJoe BidenTrump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race On The Money: Democrats get to the hard part Health Care — GOP attorneys general warn of legal battle over Biden's vaccine mandate MORE’s electoral college win. The riots resulted in five deaths, including that of a Capitol police officer.