Dominic Pezzola, 43, is currently facing seven felony charges, including robbery, obstruction of Congress, and conspiracy. Wednesday’s filing in D.C.’s district court showed his attorney, Jonathan Zucker, making the case for his pre-trial release from detention.
“Notwithstanding that his beliefs were not rationally based; defendant was not acting out of criminal intent,” the motion read.
“Defendant sought no personal nor pecuniary gain. Rather defendant acted out of the delusional belief that he was a ‘patriot’ protecting his country. Defendant is former military who is sworn to protect his country. He was responding to the entreaties of the then commander in chief, President Trump,” Zucker added.
“The President maintained that the election had been stolen and it was the duty of loyal citizens to ‘stop the steal.’ Admittedly there was no rational basis for the claim, but it is apparent defendant was one of millions of Americans who were misled by the President’s deception. Defendant did not act out of criminal intent but out of conscience, albeit a frighteningly confused and distorted sense of conscience.'”
The filing also attempted to clarify that Pezzola’s involvement with the “Proud Boys” was short-lived and minimal.
“Based on disclosures made by the prosecution it seems defendant’s only other ‘action’ as a Proud Boy was that on December 12, 2020, he attended a ‘Make America Great Again’ (MAGA) rally in support of then President Trump,” reads the filing.
It adds that Pezzola’s “only other activity as a Proud Boy was discussing politics over drinks at bars on occasion.”
Pezzola and another man from New York were indicted in federal court at the end of last month.
Both men allegedly removed temporary metal barricades restricting access to Capitol grounds and stole Capitol Police property. Pezzola is also accused of confronting a Capitol Police officer attempting to control the crowd, ripping away his riot shield.
Another video that has been widely distributed shows Pezzola using that shield to smash a window at the Capitol building, according to the indictment.
FBI agents executing a search warrant at Pezzola’s residence on the day of his arrest recovered a thumb drive that contained hundreds of .pdf files that provided “detailed instructions for making homemade firearms, poisons, and/or explosives,” the memo said.
In Wednesday’s motion, Zucker said there was “no indication defendant nor anyone else ever attempted to use the materials on that thumb drive for any purpose.”
Fox News’ Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.