Today April 28th is the first day the defense in the Donnie Wren and Thomas Smiths jury trial get to lay their case out.
Both defendants will be testifying on their own behalf, but first the lawyers for both filed motions for acquittal before the jury receives instruction, what they call rule 29, for several charges. The motions indicate that the government did not prove their case in chief for those particular charges. Most of the arguments were about the 1512 c2 charge of obstruction of an official proceeding, and if the defendants “knowingly and corruptly” obstructed congress.
Judge Walton, one of the most biased and vocal judges about the events of Jan 6, said:
“any reasonable person would see what was going on around them and choose to leave.”
The government’s position was that Mr. Wren and Mr. Smith were occupying the grounds, while police and other agencies were actively trying to clear the grounds, and they were around other individuals making statements like “whose House? Our House! traitors, liberty or death”. and other people trying to get in the building, and Mr. Wren and Mr. Smith could have made the choice to leave immediately, but they did not, and that makes them part of the “riot”. Donnie Wren’s lawyer said that you can go to protest and not intend on obstructing anything. Judge Walton ruled against acquittal for the obstruction charges, and said he would pick it up again if the jury convicts on those charges.
The defense also motioned for a rule 29 on the 231 Civil Disorder charge, which is the interruption of interstate commerce. Mayor Bowser declared a curfew…Safeway lost money…and now most Jan 6ers that take their case to trial, get this big fat felony of a charge. The defenses argument is that Donnie and Tommy’s actions alone did not cause a curfew, or cause any interruption of commerce. Judge Walton denied the arguments.
The jury did not get seated until after 11, and the defendant Donnie Wren took the stand in his own defense.
I’m sure it is not an easy task to sit before a jury of NOT your peers and try to tell your truth of that day….Donnie Wren did a great job. The government on cross tried to discredit Donnie several times, and being from Mississippi, and a bit of a low talker, would explain again in detail what he saw, and his actions and reactions that day. You could tell it agitated the governments prosecutor that she could not ruffle his feathers, Donnie stayed calm and cool. Hard to tell how all this resonates with a DC jury, these people are not our peers, and we see things in a very different way, for the most part.
Next on the stand was Thomas Smith. and Tommy will continue his testimony on Monday.
Praying for these Jan 6ers!! And for the jurors to have open ears and open hearts.