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Regarding Pelosi and Pence’s Remarks, the Defendant in the Capitol Riot Describes Himself as “a Little Bit of a Dork”

On Tuesday, one of the five defendants on trial for seditious conspiracy in connection with the attack on January 6, 2021, gave testimony in his own defense, saying he had joked about storming the US Capitol. The second defendant to testify in his own defense during the Oath Keepers trial is 68-year-old Navy veteran Thomas Caldwell, who is accused of sending some of the most violently charged communications shown to the jury.

Thomas Caldwell texted and posted on social media about “assaulting” the Capitol on January 6 to friends in his native Virginia. Although Caldwell boasted of his prior work as a radio broadcaster for high school athletics, he insisted that those messages were only a “play-by-play.”

When he made additional remarks that were seen on tape on January 6, such as insults directed at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and saying that he knew where then-Vice President Mike Pence resided, Caldwell, testified that he was just being “a little bit of a clown.”

When confronted with some of his nastiest messages to friends, such as one from December 2020 in which Caldwell expressed the wish that the then-President Donald Trump would “start rounding up and executing traitors,” Caldwell testified in court that he “didn’t mean that” without going into further detail.

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According to Caldwell, who claimed to engage in “a lot of creative writing,” some of the bombastic or overtly violent messages he delivered throughout the trial were just excerpts from screenplays he had written or allusions to the video game “Call of Duty.”

When Caldwell attempted to justify his violent texts, some of the jurors exchanged glances. One laughed convulsively, while another rolled his eyes and waved dismissively. Caldwell has pled not guilty to all counts and claims he was never a part of the Oath Keepers.

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