Several January 6 defense teams have cited Fox News as a reason for storming the Capitol
One defendant's lawyer: "He'd been watching a lot of Fox News at the time”
As Fox News faces a lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems over its lies about the 2020 election, the network has also had a notable presence in another legal arena: the criminal proceedings against January 6 insurrectionists. Several people involved with January 6 defendants have cited Fox News as a reason for their actions, with one defense attorney stating of his client: "He'd been watching a lot of Fox News at the time.”
Following then-President Donald Trump’s November 2020 loss, Fox News went all out defending and promoting the lie that the election was stolen by then-candidate Joe Biden -- and helped lay the groundwork for the January 6 insurrection. The Fox/Dominion lawsuit has revealed that hosts and executives knew they were spreading lies but were motivated to spread them anyway by the prospect of losing pro-Trump viewers.
NBC News justice reporter Ryan J. Reilly has relentlessly covered the January 6 insurrection and its aftermath, especially the people who are facing legal consequences for their alleged participation. Fox News has been a recurrent theme in defendants’ decisions to storm the Capitol. Here are six examples of such cases from Reilly’s reporting:
Anthony Antonio was indicted in 2021 on a variety of charges related to the insurrection. His attorney blamed Fox News for his actions, stating: “For the next approximate six months, Fox television played constantly … He became hooked with what I call ‘Foxitus’ or ‘Foxmania’ and became interested in the political aspect and started believing what was being fed to him.”
Stacie Harris-Getsinger was sentenced in 2022 after pleading guilty to four charges. Her attorney told the court that she "was concerned and distressed that the election results were wrong and that the process was rife with ‘fraud' because, as with her husband, her sole source of news was FOX News and Facebook chat groups.”
Annie Howell was sentenced in 2022 after pleading guilty to two charges. During her sentencing, she reportedly said that she was “easily swayed and easily manipulated” and said she has stopped watching Newsmax, OANN, and Fox News.
Markus Maly was convicted in 2022 “of two counts of felony assaulting, resisting, or impeding law enforcements officers using a dangerous weapon and one count of interfering with a law enforcement officer during a civil disorder, and related charges.” During his trial, his lawyer told jurors: "He'd been watching a lot of Fox News at the time.”
Rodney Milstreed was arrested in 2022 “for assaulting law enforcement officers and a member of the news media.” He was previously enraged by a Fox Business segment about the 2020 election, according to a DOJ filing:
Thomas Sibick this month “pleaded guilty to assaulting, resisting or impeding of an officer and two counts of theft.” Sibick assaulted former Washington, D.C., police officer Michael Fanone. During a legal proceeding in 2021, a lawyer for Sibick said that Fox News was where he got his news regarding the election.