A former Virginia police sergeant who joined supporters of Donald Trump in the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 was sentenced Thursday to seven years and three months in prison, a Justice Department spokesman said.
In April, a grand jury convicted Thomas Robertson, a former Rocky Mount, Virginia police sergeant, on six counts, including obstruction of an official process and obstruction of justice.
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Prosecutors had asked US District Judge Christopher Cooper to sentence Robertson to eight years in prison – the longest sentence to date for a Capitol defendant – on the grounds that Robertson had abused his position of trust as a law enforcement officer.
Both Robertson and Guy Reffitt, an associate of the far-right Three Percenters militia, who also received sentences of seven years and three months earlier this month, are now serving the longest-ever sentence for a Capitol riot accused.
Thousands of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 to reverse his electoral defeat, which Trump falsely claims was the result of fraud.
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Robertson’s defense attorneys had asked for a prison sentence of no more than 15 months.
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He has been in custody since last year after the judge found he had violated court orders and continued buying guns online, which prosecutors described as “arsenals”. FBI agents also found a loaded M4 rifle and a partially assembled pipe bomb during a search of his home.
Robertson’s trial included testimony from Jacob Fracker, who had reported to Robertson about police entering the Capitol with Robertson on January 6, 2021, where they took selfies together.
Prosecutors said Robertson later destroyed the cellphones they were using that day.
Fracker, who was cooperating with the Justice Department, pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in March and is scheduled to be sentenced August 16. In exchange for his cooperation, prosecutors are asking the judge to give him a six-month suspended sentence with community detention or house arrest.
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Prosecutors said Robertson “expected violence” on Jan. 6, and he packed gas masks for himself and Fracker, as well as military food rations, water and a large wooden stick.
Robertson “used his law enforcement training to stop Metropolitan Police officers from holding the mob back,” federal prosecutor Elizabeth Aloi wrote in the government’s sentencing note.
In a letter to the judge, Robertson said he takes “full responsibility” for his actions on Jan. 6 and said he was “exposed to a lot of pro-Trump and anti-Biden media” while spending the time in the year 2020 with it a friend with cancer drove away.
He drank to cope with stress, he said, and fell deep into the “rabbit holes of election conspiracy theories.”
However, he denied ever having “any intention of disrupting Congress” and claimed that Fracker did indeed destroy the phones, and later lied to the FBI and the court about it.
(Reporting by Sarah N. LynchEditing by Scott Malone, Peter Graff and Matthew Lewis)
https://globalnews.ca/news/9054413/former-cop-u-s-capitol-riot/ Former police officer sentenced to over 7 years in prison for involvement in US Capitol riots – National