Pro-Trump protesters inside the US Capitol building
Pro-Trump protesters inside the US Capitol buildingReuters/Michael Nigro/Sipa USA

A federal judge sentencing a Capitol rioter on Friday compared the weeks before January 6, 2021 to Nazi Germany.

Judge Reggie Walton described the period in which former President Donald Trump contested the results of the 2020 election, alleging it had been rigged, as reminiscent of the large crowds in Nazi Germany under the influence of a “demagogue.”

Thompson is a Capitol rioter who accused Trump of ordering his followers to carry out the Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol. Walton sentenced Thompson to three years in prison .

The judge noted that the university-educated Thompson fell down the “rabbit hole” of conspiracy theories that Trump and his allies were spreading about the stolen election, Business Insider reported.

"It makes for a very difficult situation because I'm not unsympathetic to people being radicalized to engage in abhorrent behavior. We saw it happen in Nazi Germany — a very educated, intelligent population was able to be swayed to engage in the atrocities that took place in Germany based upon a demagogue," Walton said.

"It seems to me you bought into that same type of mentality," the judge continued.

He added that it was "utterly scary" that many people still believe Trump’s assertion that the 2020 election was stolen.

Earlier in the case, Walton blasted Trump for his efforts to overturn the election results, remarking that he feared for the future of democracy in the United States.

"I think our democracy is in trouble because, unfortunately, we have charlatans like our former president, who doesn't, in my view, really care about democracy but only about power," Walton said in April. "And as a result of that, it's tearing this country apart."

Federal prosecutors had asked for Thompson to be sentenced to 5 years and 10 months in prison for obstructing a session of Congress and stealing a coat rack and bourbon bottle from a Senate office.

Thompson had testified in his own defense, explaining to the jury that he was only doing what President Trump ordered his followers to do on January 6. He also said that he stole the coat rack to keep other rioters from using it against the police. But a text message from a friend presented as evidence described it as a “trophy.”

Walton was deeply critical of Thompson’s testimony, saying on Friday: "You must have thought the people sitting in the jury were fools.”

Thompson told Walton that he was “deeply ashamed” of his behaviour, apologizing to all Americans and to the Capitol Police.

"I love America, and I'm ashamed of my actions on that day,” he said.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)