Virginia ex-cop gets 7 years

A Virginia police officer was sentenced Thursday to seven years and three months in prison for his actions at the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Thomas Robertson, 49, was off duty when he drove with fellow cop Jacob Fracker from their tiny town of Rocky Mount, Va., to Washington, D.C.

After listening to some speeches near the Washington Monument, the two men and a friend joined the mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol and attempted to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election.

In April, Robertson was convicted of six crimes: obstruction of Congress, interfering with officers during a civil disorder, entering a restricted area while carrying a dangerous weapon, disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted area while carrying a dangerous weapon, disorderly or disruptive conduct inside the Capitol building, and obstruction.

The “dangerous weapon” that Robertson carried was a large wooden stick, which prosecutors said he used to block Capitol police and other law enforcement officers at the Capitol. He was convicted of obstruction for destroying he and Fracker’s cellphones after the riot.

Even after he was arrested and charged, Robertson kept posting online about the election being stolen from former President Donald Trump. He was out on probation until June 2021, when FBI agents found 34 guns in his home and hauled him back to jail for violating the terms of his release. He’ll get credit for 13 months of time served.

“The defendant is, by all accounts, proud of his conduct on Jan. 6,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Aloi said.

Robertson’s 87-month sentence is tied for the longest prison term for any Capitol rioter. Guy Reffitt, a Texas man who stormed the building with a holstered handgun, got the same sentence.

Reffitt and Robertson were the first two accused Capitol rioters to take their chances with a jury trial. Both were convicted on all counts.

Fracker, 30, was charged alongside Robertson but he flipped and took a plea deal in March before testifying against Robertson a month later.

At trial, Fracker said everybody in the mob “pretty much had the same goal” over overturning the election and that it didn’t need to be “said out loud.”

The Rocky Mount Police Department fired Fracker and Robertson after they were arrested in January 2021.

About 850 people have been charged in connection with the riot. More than 350 have pleaded guilty to varying charges, and more than 230 people have been sentenced.

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