The ‘My client is an ignorant idiot’ defense did not work well

Kevin Seefried was sentenced to three years in prison for carrying a Confederate flag into the Capitol building on January 6, 2021 and threatening a police officer with the flagpole. His lawyers tried to find some way to mitigate his actions.

Kevin Seefried, 53, teared up before U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden in a Washington, D.C., courtroom. The judge told him that bringing the flag into “one of our nation’s most sacred halls” was “outrageous.”

“I never wanted to send a message of hate,” Seefried told the judge, according to The Associated Press.

The Delaware man breached the Capitol alongside his son, Hunter Seefried, who was sentenced in October to two years in prison. Both had been found guilty last June of charges including obstruction of an official proceeding.

Photographs of the elder Seefried with his flag shocked many Americans in the aftermath of the attack on Congress ― the pro-slavery symbol had never been openly flown in the Capitol in the nation’s history.

Seefried’s lawyers stated in court documents that as a high school dropout who grew up in an abusive household, Seefried was not aware of the hateful message the flag sent.

“He was taught that the flag was a symbol of an idealized view of southern life and southern heritage,” the attorneys wrote. “Lacking an education beyond the ninth grade and lacking even average intellectual capacity, Mr. Seefried did not appreciate the complex and, for many, painful, history behind the Confederate battle flag.”

Not only did that defense not save Seefried from prison, even his wife has left him after the fallout from the attack.

Frankly, I am a little skeptical that he actually thought that the flag was a “symbol of an idealized view of southern life and southern heritage”. Even if he only went to school up to the ninth grade and it was in the deepest south, surely the events of the past few years with neo-Nazis and racists claiming the confederate flag for their own would have been an education that the flag was at lesst controversial in its meaning?

One has to wonder about how many people could have possibly thought that this cockamamie scheme to overthrow the election by invading the Capitol and having Mike Pence declare Donald Trump the winner could possibly have ended well for them. But then, their cult leader Trump was urging them on, so they must have thought it had a chance of succeeding. And now their lives are ruined.


  1. Tethys says

    They built a gallows to hang Pence and Pelosi, rioted, brutally attacked the police, stormed the actual Capitol, but hey, they didn’t mean to send a message of hate!?

    He is clearly not the only party who is ‘lacking even average intellectual capacity’ if that was his lawyers best defense.

    I hope Jack Smith gets around to the seditious ringleader pretty soon. The entire bunch are such pitiful losers.

  2. ardipithecus says

    Can you think of a better defense? His lawyer can encourage him to plead guilty, but if the client refuses, the lawyer has to come up with something. Not easy when the act is clearly indefensible.

  3. Tethys says

    IANAL, but I think that being low intelligence would naturally make somebody more prone to believing the lies of the orange ringleader who literally rallied them to attack the Capitol and his own VP Pence.

    If I was his lawyer, I would make sure that well documented extenuating circumstance was clearly and permanently connected to my clients official trial transcripts.

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