Man in anthem attack convinced Trump ordered it: Lawyer

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana man charged with assaulting a 13-year-old boy who refused to remove his hat during the national anthem believed he was doing what President Donald Trump wanted him to do, his attorney said.

Attorney Lance Jasper told the Missoulian he will seek a mental health evaluation for Curt Brockway, a U.S. Army veteran who became caught up in the heightened animosity and rhetoric gripping the nation, and convinced himself that he was following the president's orders.

"His commander in chief is telling people that if they kneel, they should be fired, or if they burn a flag, they should be punished," Jasper said.

Jasper added that Brockway "certainly didn't understand it was a crime."

Brockway suffered a traumatic brain injury in a vehicle crash in 2000 that has affected his decision making, and Jasper said he plans to raise that in his client's defense.

Jasper's comments Wednesday came as prosecutors formally charged Brockway with assault on a minor, a felony that carries a maximum five-year prison sentence and a $50,000 fine upon conviction.

A person who answered the phone at Jasper's office Thursday said the attorney was unavailable for additional comment.

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.

The boy cursed at Brockway in response, and the man grabbed him by the throat, "lifted him into the air and slammed the boy into the ground," Donohue wrote.

Prosecutors said the boy was airlifted to a hospital for a possible concussion and skull fracture. His condition was not immediately known.

Conduct during the playing of the national anthem has been an issue in recent years, with some NFL players kneeling to protest police brutality. Trump once called for NFL owners to fire players who kneel or engage in other acts of protest during the anthem.

"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. ... Everyone should learn to dial it down a little bit, from the president to Mineral County."

Brockway, who is charged with felony assault on a minor, is a registered violent offender after being convicted of a 2010 charge of assault with a weapon.

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WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump take the stage on July 04, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump is holding a "Salute to America" celebration on the National Mall on Independence Day this year with musical performances, a military flyover, and fireworks. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump take the stage on July 04, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump is holding a "Salute to America" celebration on the National Mall on Independence Day this year with musical performances, a military flyover, and fireworks. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump gives First Lady Melania Trump a kiss as he arrives to speak at the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by Susan Walsh / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read SUSAN WALSH/AFP/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump and Vice President Mike Pence applaud during the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump take the stage on July 04, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump is holding a "Salute to America" celebration on the National Mall on Independence Day this year with musical performances, a military flyover, and fireworks. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
Guest cheer as US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive for the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive for the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump take the stage on July 04, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump is holding a "Salute to America" celebration on the National Mall on Independence Day this year with musical performances, a military flyover, and fireworks. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
Guest cheer as US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive for the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump take the stage on July 04, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump is holding a "Salute to America" celebration on the National Mall on Independence Day this year with musical performances, a military flyover, and fireworks. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, US Vice President Mike Pence (L) and acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper (R), among others, watch as the US Navy Blue Angels flyover during the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by Susan Walsh / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read SUSAN WALSH/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, US Vice President Mike Pence (L) and acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper (R), among others, watch as the US Navy Blue Angels flyover during the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by Susan Walsh / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read SUSAN WALSH/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (R) and First Lady Melania Trump walk onstage during the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (C-L) and First Lady Melania Trump stand onstage with others during the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Second Lady Karen Pence and Tiffany Trump watch as military aircraft fly over during the "Salute to America" ceremony in front of the Lincoln Memorial, on July 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. The presentation featured armored vehicles on display, a flyover by Air Force One, and several flyovers by other military aircraft. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Second Lady Karen Pence and Tiffany Trump listen as President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the "Salute to America" ceremony in front of the Lincoln Memorial, on July 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. The presentation featured armored vehicles on display, a flyover by Air Force One, and several flyovers by other military aircraft. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump exit after the "Salute to America" ceremony in front of the Lincoln Memorial, on July 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. The presentation features armored vehicles on display, a flyover by Air Force One, and several flyovers by other military aircraft. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence stand on stage after President Donald Trump spoke at the "Salute to America" ceremony in front of the Lincoln Memorial, on July 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. The presentation featured armored vehicles on display, a flyover by Air Force One, and several flyovers by other military aircraft. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump (C) is escorted to the stage during the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (L) and First Lady Melania Trump leave after attending the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (L) and First Lady Melania Trump leave after attending the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (L) and US First Lady Melania Trump arrive for the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive to the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive at the "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive to "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive to "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive to "Salute to America" Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
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