AP

Trump supporters get split verdict in weapons, election case

Oct 12, 2022, 3:26 AM | Updated: 4:51 pm

FILE - This image provided by the Philadelphia Police Department shows Joshua Macias. Macias and Antonio LaMotta, two supporters of former President Donald Trump arrested after driving a Hummer with guns and ammunition to a Philadelphia site where votes were being counted in November 2020, were convicted of weapons charges Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022, but acquitted of election interference. (Philadelphia Police Department via AP, File)

(Philadelphia Police Department via AP, File)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Two supporters of President Donald Trump arrested after driving a Hummer with guns and ammunition to a Philadelphia site where votes were being counted in November 2020 were convicted of weapons charges Wednesday but acquitted of election interference.

Prosecutors argued that Vets for Trump co-founder Joshua Macias and co-defendant Antonio LaMotta, both of Virginia, planned a mass shooting as the outcome of the presidential election remained uncertain.

However, Common Pleas Court Judge Lucretia Clemons rejected that theory, finding the men guilty only of bringing weapons to the city without a permit on Nov. 5, 2020.

LaMotta is separately charged with federal misdemeanor offenses stemming from his alleged illegal entry of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Both men remain free on bail pending a scheduled sentencing in December, when they face a possible sentence of probation to 18 months in jail, defense lawyer William J. Brennan said.

“The commonwealth has presented no evidence to show that they came here to interfere with an election,” Brennan, who represents Macias, said after the one-day, non-jury trial. “They came, they stared at a building, they talked to some police officers, and they didn’t bother anybody.”

The pair were arrested after the FBI in Virginia relayed a tip about their plans to Philadelphia police. Officers stopped the men, who had driven up from Virginia Beach, about a block from the vehicle. Each man had a handgun on him, while an AR-style rifle and ammunition were found inside the vehicle, which sported an American flag and a window sticker for the right-wing conspiracy theory QAnon.

District Attorney Larry Krasner had publicly labeled Macias “a shark” with ties to far-right extremist groups. The defense painted him as a veteran and active member of an evangelical church.

Despite the judge’s verdict on Wednesday, Krasner held to his view that the pair drove to Philadelphia to disrupt the election.

“If you commit a crime while seeking to undermine people’s right to vote, and to have their votes appropriately counted, you will be held accountable,” he said in a statement.

LaMotta’s lawyer called the election charges “unsubstantiated and based on nothing more than speculation.”

“This is a gun case. While it may have been spun into a case of politics, it was always a gun case and the verdict reflects the same,” lawyer Lauren Wimmer told The Associated Press.

___ Follow AP Legal Affairs Writer Maryclaire Dale on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Maryclairedale

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Photo: A delegate wears a hat with pins during the Republican National Convention Monday, July 15, ...

Christine Fernando, Steve People and Jill Colvin, The Associated Press

Rep. Walsh speaks for Washington as cheering GOP delegates nominate Trump for president

Cheering GOP delegates formally nominated Donald Trump for president at Monday's Republican National Convention kickoff.

2 days ago

Photo: Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, right, points toward Republican presidential candidate former Presi...

Jill Colvin, Julie Carr Smyth, Steve Peoples and Zeke Miller, The Associated Press

Trump picks Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, a once-fierce critic turned loyal ally, as his GOP running mate

Donald Trump named Sen. JD Vance of Ohio as his running mate, choosing a onetime critic who became a loyal ally.

2 days ago

trump assassination...

Ayanna Alexander, The Associated Press

What to know about Trump assassination attempt and the investigation into the shooting

Authorities want to know how a shooter was able to get on top of a roof so close to where former President Donald Trump was speaking and open fire.

2 days ago

Photo: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is surrounded by U.S. Secret...

Julie Carr Smyth, Jill Colvin, Colleen Long, Michael Balsamo, Eric Tucker and Michelle L. Price, The Associated Press

Trump heads to convention as authorities investigate motive, security in assassination attempt

Trump called for unity and resilience after an attempt on his life added fresh uncertainty to an already tumultuous presidential campaign.

3 days ago

Photo: President Joe Biden speaks from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Sunday,...

Will Weissert and Zeke Miller, The Associated Press

In primetime address, Biden says country must not go down road of political violence

President Joe Biden says “we can’t, we must not go down” the road of political violence in America after the attempted Trump assassination.

3 days ago

Photo: President Joe Biden speaks at a news conference following the NATO Summit in Washington, Thu...

Zeke Miller, Seung Min Kim, Lisa Mascaro and Colleen Long, The Associated Press

Biden says during news conference he’s going to ‘complete the job’ despite calls to bow out

Biden used his highly anticipated news conference to deliver a defense of his policies and batted away questions about his ability to serve.

6 days ago

Trump supporters get split verdict in weapons, election case