Philadelphia judge finds 2 men not guilty in election interference, guilty on weapons charges

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — A judge in Philadelphia has found two men not guilty of vote-rigging after they were arrested outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center during the November 2020 election count.

But the judge showed no leniency to Antonio LaMotta and Joshua Macias, finding them both guilty of carrying guns without a license.

Joshua Macias and Antonio LaMotta both walked out of court, relieved by the acquittal verdicts but still concerned.

“Gun attacks are gun attacks,” LaMotta said. “We are not to blame for anything. We didn’t try to do anything.”

SEE ALSO: Judge Denies Motion to Revoke Bail of Men Arrested During Philly Ballot Count

Antonio Lamotta, 61 (left) and Joshua Macias, 42 (right)

Macias had no comment, but his wife did as she fought back tears and described the accusation as disheartening.

“We found some justice,” said Renae Macias. “We are not happy about the gun allegations.”

The charges stem from the ballot count in Philadelphia on November 6 following the 2020 presidential election.

The FBI received a tip that someone was going to Philadelphia to disrupt the election. Macias and Lamotta were stopped by police near the convention center where a vote count was taking place. Both carried a handgun licensed in Virginia but not in Philadelphia.

A search of Lamotta’s Hummer revealed an assault rifle and over a hundred rounds of ammunition.

“Joshua Macias was a responsible gun owner. He was licensed to carry a concealed firearm in Virginia. He honestly believed the license was valid in PA, which was until the spring of 2018,” Defense Attorney Alan Tauber said.

Prosecutors showed text messages in which the two discussed arming each other, and LaMotta spoke of searching a truckload of allegedly fake ballots.

ALSO SEE: Man accused of bringing guns into Pa’s convention center Arrested on January 6 for trespassing

However, little other evidence has been presented that the two had a plan to carry out something sinister.

“Are you worried that might be a problem?” asked investigative reporter Chad Pradelli.

“No, no, it was just talk,” LaMotta replied.

“These were gentlemen who exercised their right to political protest,” added Tauber. “They had no ill intentions or intentions and I think the judge saw it clearly.”

The verdict is another blow to District Attorney Larry Krasner.

“He ranted and raved and yelled and preached about this case and was acquitted of all election charges. I think the verdict speaks for itself,” said defense attorney William Brennan.

Antonio Lamotta is still facing federal charges related to the January 6, 2021 storming of the Capitol. Sentencing in this case is scheduled for December 14.

District Attorney Larry Krasner made this statement regarding Antonio LaMotta’s convictions & Joshua Macias:

“Thanks to the joint investigative work of our law enforcement partners with the FBI and the Philadelphia Police Department, Antonio LaMotta and Joshua Macias were stopped and arrested as they approached the Pennsylvania Convention Center with guns on November 5, 2020 while poll workers were busy counting Philadelphia’s votes in a presidential campaign that has proved pivotal in the course of our nation’s history. Since then, my office has worked vigorously to ensure that LaMotta and Macias are held accountable for their crimes and that future opportunities to undermine American democracy are denied, including after both attended events surrounding the January 6, 2021 riot at the US Capitol.

“Following a waiver today, the Hon. Lucretia found Clemons LaMotta and Macias guilty of two counts each of violations of the Uniform Firearms Act, which is federal law. I am incredibly grateful to our prosecutors, assigned to the Election Task Force and Gun Violence Task Force, who have worked over the past 23 months to enforce these convictions. Let this be a lesson not to illegally bring firearms to the Philly election. You are committing a crime while attempting to undermine the people’s right to vote and in order for your votes to be properly counted you will be held accountable.

“We are grateful to our federal law enforcement partners, who have previously arrested and charged LaMotta at the federal level for his participation in the January 6 riot on the eve of January 6 in Washington DC, during recent hearings of the Special Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, hinted that there could be more ramifications for him.

“While we respect the court’s authority and decision today, it seems clear that after January 6, the decades-old law affecting primaries and elections should be revised and improved by the Pennsylvania legislature. I encourage every Pennsylvanian who loves democracy and equality to vote this November for lawmakers who seek to extend democratic participation to all Americans — and not usurp it through violence or impeachment by political opponents.”

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