While some people who stormed the nation’s Capitol on Jan. 6 did so because they believed the false narrative about a stolen election, that’s not why Michael Lopatic was there, according to his attorney.
Several of the 400-plus defendants charged for alleged crimes committed in and around the Capitol are arguing in court they were essentially duped into believing Donald Trump had won the 2020 election. They say they were misled by Trump’s bogus claims about voting fraud and by false reports in pro-Trump media outlets, according to a recent article by The Associated Press.
But that apparently won’t be Lopatic’s strategy.
Instead, the Manheim Township man was in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 to “advance the pro-life cause,” his attorney Dennis Boyle said this week.
Lopatic’s Facebook page, no longer publicly available, included many posts noting his opposition to abortion. On Feb. 2, he posted: “It wasn’t a riot at the capital (sic) it was a Crusade against baby murderers.”
Lopatic “does not and did not believe the election was stolen,” Boyle wrote in an email when asked about his client’s case. Boyle said he couldn’t discuss strategy other than to say Lopatic didn’t believe the election was stolen. He also noted Lopatic has a brain tumor, saying, “That is an issue we are exploring.”
Lopatic has a pituitary macroadenoma, which is a benign tumor of the pituitary gland. Symptoms can include headaches, vision problems and hormone problems. It can also lead to Cushing Syndrome, with symptoms such as irritability, depression and loss of emotional control, along with diabetes, high blood pressure and other problems.
Lopatic is charged with repeatedly punching one police officer in the head outside the Capitol and ripping the body camera off a second officer and later throwing it away. He was arrested at his home on Feb. 3 and was held federal detention until April 26. A trial has not been scheduled.
Boyle said Lopatic’s “actions toward the police were motivated by a statement he heard indicating that the police had shot and killed a 16-year-old girl. This statement turned out to be false, but he did not know it at the time.”
The rumor Boyle was apparently referencing could have been inspired by the shooting of Ashli Babbit, a San Diego woman who was killed by a police officer when climbing through a broken window on a door near the U.S. House Chamber.
Boyle said Lopatic’s involvement with police lasted no more than 16 seconds. In a filing late last month summarizing information made available to Lopatic’s attorneys, federal prosecutors said the information included 19 pages of medical records pertaining to an officer identified as C.M., whom Lopatic is accused of punching.
The information is not public record, and Boyle said he was precluded from discussing it.