A federal jury returned a unanimous verdict on Monday that found a longtime former officer of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) guilty of all charges related to the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the Capitol.
Thomas Webster, a Marine Corps veteran and 20-year member of the NYC police department, was found guilty on each of the six counts against him, including five felonies: assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers with a dangerous weapon; obstructing officers during a civil disorder; entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, while carrying a dangerous weapon; engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, while carrying a dangerous weapon, and engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds, while carrying a dangerous weapon; and one misdemeanor, engaging in an act of physical violence in the Capitol building or grounds.
Another Capitol riot defendant who pleaded guilty to one of the same counts, assaulting a police officer with a dangerous weapon, was sentenced in December to 63 months in prison.
Jurors heard four days of testimony last week and watched footage from multiple angles showing Webster attacking DC Police Officer Noah Rathbun on Jan. 6. Webster’s attorney, James E. Monroe, argued the veteran police officer was defending himself from a “rogue cop” and that Rathbun bore responsibility for instigating the assault.
Jurors needed only two hours on Monday to reject that defense, however. After the verdict, one juror described the decision as “very easy and quick.” Another said they didn’t find Webster’s self-defense theory compelling — particularly his argument that open-palm contact Rathbun’s left hand made with Webster’s face amounted to a “punch.”
U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta allowed Webster to return home to upstate New York while he awaits sentencing, which was set for Sept. 2. He’ll remain on GPS monitoring and 24-hour home confinement until then.
Webster is the fourth Capitol riot defendant to take his case before a Washington federal jury. All have been convicted, as were two other defendants who opted for bench trials before the Trump-appointed U.S. District Judge McFadden.
As of April 6, nearly 800 people have been charged in connection with the Capitol riot. Out of more than 250 charged with assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers or employees, at least 85 defendants have been charged with using a deadly or dangerous weapon or causing serious bodily injury to an officer.