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Trial of Florida man accused of making threats on inauguration day begins

Published: May. 4, 2021 at 5:45 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAP NEWS/WCJB) - The trial of a man accused of threatening violence at the state Capitol on Inauguration Day began in federal court Tuesday.

The government says the former army sniper attempted to call people to arms to attack protesters.

Daniel Baker faces two counts of making true threats of violence.

One for a flier posted on his social media accounts calling Floridians to arms and encouraging them to defend the State Capitol against ‘racist armed terrorists’ he feared would storm the building on Inauguration Day.

The other, for a Facebook group he’s accused of making, calling for similar action.

A group of Baker’s friends were present in court for jury selection.

They didn’t talk Tuesday, but in January they told us Baker is misunderstood.

“The FBI themselves were warning about this and I think he took the FBI warning seriously and I think he was just trying to protect his neighbors,” said Eric Champagne, Baker’s roommate and friend.

A number of potential jurors admitted they would have a hard time separating their feelings about the January 6th insurrection and the facts of the case.

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Others were excused for already having knowledge about the case or having already formed an opinion.

In opening arguments, the defense didn’t contest the evidence against Baker, saying this trial wouldn’t be a case of ‘who done it’.

Instead, the public defender said their case would rely on whether Baker actually intended to carry out the threats made, or even whether he was capable of doing so.

The prosecution in its opening arguments pointed to Baker’s past military service and his time spent fighting in Syria with an anti-ISIS militia group as evidence Baker was capable and likely to have carried through with the online threats.

The prosecution said it will take two or three days to lay out their case against Baker, then the defense gets its turn.

Baker is expected to take the stand.

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