Capitol Riot

Man Charged in Jan. 6 Riot Backs Out of Plea Deal After Fellow Defendant Acquitted

Shawn Witzemann, who faces four misdemeanor charges, was scheduled to plead guilty next week

FILE - Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they push barricades to storm the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021.
Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images (File)

A man charged in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol backed out of a planned plea deal with the government Thursday, a day after a federal judge acquitted another defendant.

Shawn Witzemann, who faces four misdemeanor charges, was scheduled to plead guilty next week, but he changed his mind after U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, an appointee of President Donald Trump, found former federal contractor Matthew Martin not guilty during a bench trial.

McFadden said that prosecutors did not prove Martin knowingly entered a restricted building and that he may have believed police officers had let him into the building, NBC News reported.

Guy L. Womack, an attorney for Witzemann, said the verdict in Martin's case was the "proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back" and led to Witzemann's decision to back out of the planned plea deal and take his chances at trial.

Read the full story at NBCNews.com.

One year has passed since supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol during the certification of Electoral College votes. NBCLX Political Editor Noah Pransky brings you a timeline of the day and the aftermath.
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