Judith P. Miller on Whether President Trump's Comments Around the Capitol Invasion Could Be Mitigating Evidence for Defendants

‘I Answered the Call of My President’: Rioters Say Trump Urged Them On

Legal scholars have questioned the viability of the defense in the case of the Capitol breach, noting that anyone who seeks to blame Mr. Trump for their part in the assault would have to prove not only that they believed he had authorized their actions, but also that such a belief was reasonable.

But even if trying to offload responsibility onto Mr. Trump may not be effective at a trial, it could ultimately help lighten the punishment for anyone convicted of a crime in connection with the attack, said Judith P. Miller, a law professor at the University of Chicago.

“The fact that our country’s highest leader is promoting this grand lie and giving millions of people a sense of righteousness, and that they’re on the side of the angels, that seems like it could be potentially strong mitigating evidence,” Ms. Miller said.

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