Federal prosecutors are recommending an 8-yr prison sentence for an off-duty Virginia law enforcement officer who was convicted by a jury of storming the U.S. Capitol to impede Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory.
Previous Rocky Mount Law enforcement Sgt. Thomas Robertson utilized his legislation enforcement schooling to block law enforcement officers who were striving to safeguard the Capitol from a mob’s attack on Jan. 6, 2021, prosecutors said in a courtroom filing Thursday supporting their sentencing advice.
“Instead of utilizing his training and electric power to encourage the public great, he tried to overthrow the govt,” they wrote.
An eight-yr jail sentence would be the longest between hundreds of Capitol riot instances. The lengthiest so significantly is 7 decades and a few months for Man Reffitt, a Texas guy who attacked the Capitol when armed with a holstered handgun.
U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper is scheduled to sentence Robertson next Thursday. Prosecutors also requested the choose to sentence Robertson to three many years of supervised launch soon after any prison time period.
Robertson’s lawyer, Mark Rollins, is trying to find a sentence under a sentencing pointers array of 27 to 33 months of imprisonment. Prosecutors estimate a sentencing recommendations array of 87 months to 108 months, but Cooper isn’t really sure by any of those estimates or suggestions.
Robertson did not testify at his trial ahead of a jury convicted him in April of all 6 counts in his indictment, which includes rates that he interfered with police officers at the Capitol and that he entered a limited spot with a perilous weapon, a big wooden stick.
Robertson’s legal professionals reported the U.S. Army veteran was making use of the stick to support him walk mainly because he has a limp from having shot in the correct thigh when performing as a private contractor for the U.S. Defense Department in Afghanistan in 2011.
In their sentencing memo, prosecutors accused Robertson of lying about his military services company. Robertson discovered himself on his resume as a U.S. Military Ranger university graduate, but his formal army information do not help that claim, prosecutors said. They mentioned Robertson also lied to a reporter about getting a Purple Heart.
Robertson’s jury trial was the next for a Capitol riot case. Reffitt’s was the 1st. Jurors have unanimously convicted 7 riot defendants of all prices in their respective indictments.
Robertson traveled to Washington, D.C., on the morning of Jan. 6 with co-employee Jacob Fracker and a third male, a neighbor. Fracker also was an off-responsibility Rocky Mount police officer. He was scheduled to be tried out together with Robertson in advance of he pleaded guilty to a conspiracy demand and agreed to cooperate with authorities.
Fracker testified at Robertson’s trial that he to begin with believed that he was just trespassing when he entered the Capitol building. But he finally pleaded responsible to conspiring with Robertson to obstruct Congress.
Robertson’s attorneys conceded that he broke the regulation when he entered the Capitol all through the riot. They inspired jurors to convict Robertson of misdemeanor offenses but acquit him of felony fees.
Jurors saw some of Robertson’s posts on social media in advance of and immediately after the Capitol riot. In a Facebook post on Nov. 7, 2020, Robertson mentioned “being disenfranchised by fraud is my difficult line.”
“I’ve expended most of my adult everyday living fighting a counter insurgency. (I’m) about to develop into part of one, and a incredibly efficient just one,” he wrote.
In a letter resolved to the judge, Robertson mentioned he will take entire accountability for his actions on Jan. 6 and “any bad conclusions I built.” He blamed the vitriolic articles of his social media posts on a blend of stress, liquor abuse and “submersion in deep ‘rabbit holes’ of election conspiracy theory.”
“I sat all over at night time consuming far too significantly and reacting to article content and websites presented to me by Fb” algorithms, he wrote.
The town fired Robertson and Fracker right after the riot. Rocky Mount is about 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Roanoke and has approximately 5,000 residents.
Robertson has been jailed since Cooper ruled last yr that he violated the conditions of his pretrial launch by possessing firearms.
About 850 people today have been charged with federal crimes for their conduct on Jan. 6. Around 350 of them have pleaded guilty, typically to misdemeanor offenses, and in excess of 220 have been sentenced so significantly.