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Maryland man 'hung on every word' Trump spoke, attorney argues at Jan. 6 trial

Daniel Dean Egtvedt, of Garrett County, faces nine criminal counts, including a charge of assaulting police.

WASHINGTON — A Maryland man who began trial Monday on assault charges claimed it was police who instigated the violence against him and told a judge he was only at the U.S. Capitol Building to begin with because he believed he had permission from the former president.

Daniel Dean Egtvedt, of Garrett County, Maryland, appeared before U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper facing nine counts for his alleged role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, including felony counts of assaulting police, civil disorder and obstruction of an official proceeding.

During opening arguments Monday morning, prosecutors played video of Egtvedt entering the Capitol during the second breach of the Senate Wing doors at approximately 2:48 p.m. Video shows Egtvedt berating police and chanting that officers were “traitors.” He eventually made his way to the Hall of Columns, where, video shows, he got into an altercation with police during which multiple officers struggled to restrain him. During the scuffle he lost his footing and his head slammed into one of the marble columns – causing a concussion that defense attorneys claimed officers ignored as they picked him up and shoved him out the door.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Colleen Kukowski said the incident was initiated by Egtvedt grabbing the arm of a much smaller female police officer and attempting to push his way past her back into the Capitol. But Nicole Anne Cubbage, one of Egtvedt’s attorneys, argued it was the second time police assaulted her client that day.

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During opening arguments, Cubbage showed a collage of three pictures from the day. The first, taken in the morning, showed Egtvedt giving a thumbs up while awaiting Trump’s speech at the Ellipse. The second, taken just before 3 p.m., showed him suffering from the effects of pepper spray. Cubbage claimed in her opening argument that an unidentified officer had improperly sprayed Egtvedt directly in the eyes with o.c. spray just for taking pictures of police. The third picture was an image of bodyworn camera footage from approximately 20 minutes later when Egtvedt was lying on the ground after his head struck the column.

Cubbage said Egtvedt did not come to D.C. intending to go to the Capitol until Trump urged his supporters to march to the building and, even then, had no intention of stopping the joint session of Congress.

“Most importantly, he was not prepared for the government to assault him,” Cubbage said.

Another attorney representing Egtvedt, Kira Anne West, told Cooper they intended to mount a public authority defense against many of the charges against him – arguing, in essence, that Egtvedt had the permission of the president of the United States to be at the Capitol. That defense had long odds of success, however. West acknowledged two other judges in the district, including Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell, had already barred other Jan. 6 defendants from raising that defense. Cooper said Monday he was disinclined to rule in a different direction.

Egtvedt waived his right to a jury and opted instead for a bench trial before Cooper. Before opening arguments began Monday, Cooper ruled prosecutors could use statements Egtvedt made after he was thrown out of the Capitol by officers. Kukowski ended her opening Monday by playing a clip of Egtvedt outside the Capitol at approximately 3:19 p.m. that day – after he’d been removed from the building – appearing to call for reinforcements.

“We’re in a treasonous situation here people,” Egtvedt said in a video. “Please come down to the United States Capitol. Please come.”

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