Attorney cites Trump's 'rhetoric' in Montana national anthem attack

Cheryl Sanders
August 9, 2019

The teen was airlifted to a hospital with a possible concussion and skull fracture, Mineral County prosecutor Elena Donahue wrote in court documents, the Associated Press reported.

Attorney Lance Jasper said that his client - a US veteran who reportedly previously sustained a traumatic brain injury of his own - was led to believe that his actions were appropriate for the situation.

A Montana man charged with assaulting a 13-year-old boy for not taking his hat off during the national anthem believed he was acting on orders from President Donald Trump, his attorney says.

"He was bleeding out of his ears, seizing on the ground, just not coherent", she said. I don't remember anything - the rodeo, the helicopter.

Court documents say Brockway has a traumatic brain injury but seems to manage rather well. The assailant justified his actions by saying the boy "was disrespecting the national anthem so he had every right to do that", Hennick said. He has since been released and is recovering at home.

Brockway, 39, told a sheriff's deputy that he asked the boy to remove his hat out of respect for the national anthem before the start of the county rodeo, Mineral County Attorney Ellen Donohue wrote in the document describing the attack. She added that he's still pretty scared and was traumatized by the incident.

According to the affidavit, witnesses of the alleged incident confirmed most of Brockway's description of events, but one woman said she did not hear him ask the boy to take off his hat. Trump once called for National Football League owners to fire players who kneel or engage in other acts of protest during the anthem.

During a 2017 rally in Alabama, Trump said: "Wouldn't you love to see one of these National Football League owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a b-- off the field right now, out. He's fired. He's fired, '" Trump said at a 2017 rally. "Maybe they shouldn't be in the country", he said.

"Whether that passes muster with the court as a viable defense is for a different day", he said. Jasper likened Trump's words surrounding the anthem and those who protest it to a presidential order.

His attorney Lance Jasper did not immediately return PEOPLE's request for comment.

"Trump never necessarily says go hurt somebody, but the message is absolutely clear", Jasper said. "I am certain of the fact that (Brockway) was doing what he believed he was told to do, essentially, by the president".

Jasper said he intends to argue that Brockway's "mental illness or brain injury" combined with "permission given by the president" led to the vicious assault. Jasper told the outlet Brockway's brain injury was considered during his sentencing in that case. Brockway was then released and put on probation with a list of conditions.

Jasper said his client has received hundreds of death threats since the alleged assault. He was scheduled to be released on his recognizance on Tuesday.

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