7 years in jail for ex-policeman who rioted at US Capitol | US Elections 2020 News

A former Virginia police sergeant joined Donald Trump Supporters stormed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, was sentenced to seven years and three months in prison, matching the longest prison sentence to date among hundreds of Capitol riots.

Former Rocky Mount Police Sergeant Thomas Robertson declined to speak in court before U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper sentenced him to seven years and three months in prison on Thursday. Cooper also sentenced Robertson to three years of supervised release after serving his prison term.

Federal prosecutors recommended eight years in prison for Robertson. His sentence is equivalent to ‘s sentence Guy RefittA Texan man attacked the Capitol while armed with a pistol.

Robertson is credited for the 13 months he was incarcerated. Robertson has been jailed since Cooper ruled last year that he violated the terms of his pre-trial release by gun possession.

The judge said he had been troubled by Robertson’s conduct since his arrest – not just his possession of a gun but also his pro-violent rhetoric. After January 6, Robertson told a friend he was prepared to fight and die in a civil war, and he clung to baseless conspiracy theories that the 2020 election was stolen from there to President Donald Trump, the judge noted.

Sentencing guidelines calculated by Cooper recommended prison terms ranging from seven years three months to nine years.

“That’s a long time because it reflects the seriousness of the offenses for which you were convicted,” the judge said.

In April, a grand jury convicted Robertson of attacking the Capitol to obstruct Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s 2020 won the president. The jurors found Robertson guilty of all six counts in his indictment, including that he obstructed police officers at the Capitol and that he entered a restricted area with a weapon. dangerous gas, a large wooden stick.

Robertson’s attorneys say the Army veteran used the cane to help him walk because he had a limp from being shot in the right thigh while working as a private contractor for the Department of Defense in Afghanistan in 2011.

The judge said he agreed with the jurors that Robertson went to the Capitol to intervention General session of the National Assembly on January 6.

Robertson was an “active and willing person,” not “some bystander” caught up in the crowd, Cooper said.

Robertson arrived in Washington, DC, that morning with another Rocky Mount cop, Jacob Fracker, and a third man, a neighbor who was not charged in the case.

He has been in custody since last year, after a judge found he violated a court order and continued to buy what prosecutors described as an online gun “army”. FBI agent also found an M4 rifle and a partially assembled pipe bomb at his home during a search.

Robertson’s trial featured testimony from Fracker, who reported to Robertson about the police force and entered the Capitol on January 6, 2021 with him, where they took a selfie together.

Prosecutors said Robertson then destroyed the cell phone they had used that day.

Fracker, who collaborated with judicialpleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy in March and will be sentenced on August 16. In exchange for his cooperation, prosecutors are asking the judge to sentence him to six months of probation. with conditions of solitary confinement in the community or at home.

Prosecutors said Robertson “foresaw the violence” on January 6, and that he packed respirators for himself and Fracker, as well as rations of military food, water and a wooden stick. great.

Robertson “used his law enforcement training to stop Metropolitan Police officers trying to hold back crowds,” Federal Prosecutor Elizabeth Aloi wrote in the government memo.

Robertson’s attorney, Mark Rollins, requested a prison sentence of less than two years and three months. He questioned the fairness of the wide gap in the sentences that prosecutors recommended for Robertson and Fracker, for their similar conduct.

Robertson served his country and community differently, his attorney told the judge.

“His life is in turmoil,” Rollins said.

Robertson and Fracker are among the current or former law enforcement officers involved riot. Prosecutors say Robertson used his law enforcement and military training to intercept police officers who were trying to stop the advancing mob.

Assistant US Attorney Elizabeth Aloi said Robertson was braced for violence when he arrived at the Capitol and made a “victory lap” inside the building, where he posed for a selfie with Fracker.

She said: “The defendant was proud of his conduct on January 6.

Jurors viewed several of Robertson’s social media posts before and after the riots. In a Facebook post on November 7, 2020, Robertson said “was disenfranchisement because cheating is my problem”.

“I spent most of my adult life fighting the insurgents. [I’m] about to be part of one, and a very productive part,” he wrote.

In a letter to the judge, Robertson said he took full responsibility for his actions on January 6 and “any wrong decisions I have made”. He blamed the key content in his social media posts to a combination of stress, alcohol abuse and the “deep pit” of the election. conspiracy theories“.

“I was sitting around at night, drinking too much and reacting to articles and websites presented to me by the Facebook algorithms,” he wrote.

However, he denied ever having “any intention to disrupt Congress” and claimed that Fracker did indeed destroy the cell phone, and then lied. FBI and the court about it.

The small town of Rocky Mount fired Robertson and Fracker after the riot.

About 850 people have been charged federal crime for their conduct on January 6. More than 350 of them have pleaded guilty, most to misdemeanors, and more than 230 have been convicted to date.

Robertson’s jury trial was the second in a Capitol riot; Refitt was the first. The juries unanimously found the seven Capitol rioters on all counts in their respective charges.

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