- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 16, 2021

Robert Sanford, a Trump supporter accused of hurling a fire extinguisher at the U.S. Capitol, hitting three police officers, made a “micro-mistake” in the heat of the moment, his lawyer said Friday.

Defense lawyer Enrique Latoison also said on CNN that Mr. Sanford, a 55-year-old retired firefighter from Chester, Pennsylvania, went to the U.S. Capitol because he was so instructed by President Trump.

Mr. Latoison said during the interview that Mr. Sanford took a free chartered bus on Jan. 6 to see Mr. Trump speak to his supporters at a protest near the White House in Washington, D.C.

That event culminated in thousands of Trump supporters, including Mr. Sanford, marching down the road to the U.S. Capitol, which mobs of people then stormed during a deadly failed insurrection.

Mr. Sanford was arrested Thursday after federal authorities said that an acquaintance identified him to the FBI as the man seen in a viral video throwing a fire extinguisher outside the U.S. Capitol.



The video footage captured the person alleged to be Mr. Sanford tossing the fire extinguisher at a group of U.S. Capitol Police officers. Three were struck in the head but not seriously hurt.

Mr. Latoison argued during the CNN interview that Mr. Sanford ended up on Capitol Hill because Mr. Trump told his supporters to head there.

“So they’re there, and they’re hearing, you know, from the president — he’s the commander-in-chief — they’re telling them to fight and to stand up for your country and to do all these things and to protect the Constitution and all these things. He was there to be at that rally. Next thing you know, they’re being told to go down to the Capitol Building,” said Mr. Latoison.

“He got caught up in the moment. There were things being thrown everywhere. There was debris everywhere. He picked something up and he regrets it,” Mr. Latoison added.

“This fire extinguisher was empty. You can see it bounces almost toy-like,” Mr. Latoison said. “There was debris and there was stuff being thrown everywhere.”

The U.S. Department of Justice has charged Mr. Sanford with remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; disorderly or disruptive conduct on Capitol grounds; civil disorder; and assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers while engaged in the performance of official duties. A federal judge on Thursday ordered him to be detained pending trial.

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