The attorney for an accused Capitol rioter has claimed that his client had “Foxitis” after watching too much Fox News, according to several sources.
Anthony Antonio’s attorney Joseph Hurley has claimed that his 27-year-old client started spending all his free time watching the news network after becoming unemployed because of COVID-19. Antonio was arrested in Delaware on April 20th after turning himself in and is currently facing five charges in connection with the riots. According to court documents, Antonio is alleged to have stolen an officer’s gas mask and stormed the Capitol building through a broken window. An FBI affidavit said he was also seen climbing the scaffolding outside the Capitol and pouring water over a police officer who was being dragged down a set of steps.
His attorney told U.S. Magistrate Judge Robin M. Meriweather on Thursday that “he became hooked with what I call ‘Foxitis’ or ‘Foxmania’ and became interested in the political aspect and started believing what was being fed to him.” Hurley argued at the hearing that Antonio believed he was following former President Trump’s orders to march on Washington and that he was participating in a patriotic movement, reported the Huffington Post. According to Hurley his client moved in with roommates in Chicago and “for the next approximate six months, Fox television played constantly.”
Whilst being interviewed by the FBI, Antonio revealed that he had witnessed the assault on DC Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone. Antonio said that he locked eyes with the officer, who was pleading for help and saw “death” in Fanone’s eyes. “I didn’t help him when I should have” Antonio told the agents, he also said he cannot get the image out of his head. During the hearing another suspect, Landon Copeland, disrupted Antonio’s appearance at court. Copeland was dialled into a video conference with Judge Meriweather in Washington who was holding hearings for several other Capitol riot suspects at the same time.
Copeland who was scheduled to be called last repeatedly shouted whilst the other rioters appeared before the judge. When Antonio’s lawyer blamed his client’s actions on “Foxitis” Copeland became enraged and shouted, “I object”, he was subsequently placed on mute by Judge Meriweather. Upon being unmuted Copeland then screamed “I am going to tell the truth” and then started to attack his own lawyer, the judge and law enforcement, saying “I don’t like you people”. He told his attorney Ryan Stout “I don’t know who you are, you are a robot to me. I’m out here in the desert, in no-man’s-land,” he continued “Your evil, that’s what you are. You need to shut up.”
In response to the outburst the judge suspended the hearing and had Copeland sent to a separate conference room. Court officials later told the judge that they had been previously informed that Copeland suffers from PTSD. In the aftermath of the Capitol Hill riots Fox News faced backlash because many believe they amplified President Trump’s claims of electoral fraud in the 2020 election. It’s because of these accusations that Fox News is currently facing two multi-billion-dollar defamation lawsuits from technology companies Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic for airing false claims about their systems.
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ARTICLE: NATHAN REID
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: THE WASHINGTON POST
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