Former police officer sentenced to more than 7 years in prison in January 6 case

Robertson gets credit for the 13 months he has already spent in custody. Robertson has been imprisoned since Cooper ruled last year that he violated the terms of his firearms bail.

The judge said he was disturbed by Robertson’s conduct since his arrest – not only his stockpiling of guns, but also his words advocating violence. After Jan. 6, Robertson told a friend he was ready to fight and die in a civil war and he clung to baseless conspiracy theories that the 2020 election was stolen from the president. of the time, Donald Trump, the judge noted.

The sentencing guidelines calculated by Cooper recommended a prison term ranging from seven years and three months to nine years.

“It’s long because it reflects the seriousness of the offenses for which you have been convicted,” the judge said.

In April, a jury found Robertson guilty of attacking the Capitol to prevent Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential victory. The jurors found Robertson guilty of all six counts in his indictment, including including charges of interfering with police officers at the Capitol and entering a restricted area with a dangerous weapon, a large wooden stick.

Robertson’s attorneys say the Army veteran used the stick to help him walk because he limped after 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 jurors that Robertson went to the Capitol to interfere with the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6. Robertson was an “active and willing participant,” not “a bystander” who got swept up in the crowd, Cooper said.

Robertson traveled to Washington that morning with another off-duty Rocky Mount police officer, Jacob Fracker, and a third man, a neighbor who has not been charged in the case.

Fracker was scheduled to stand trial alongside Robertson before pleading guilty to a conspiracy charge in March and agreeing to cooperate with federal authorities. Cooper is due to convict Fracker next Tuesday.

Prosecutors asked Cooper to spare Fracker jail time and sentence him to six months probation plus a period of house arrest or “community confinement.” They said Fracker’s “full” cooperation and testimony at trial was crucial to securing convictions against Robertson.

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

Robertson has served his country and his community with distinction, his attorney told the judge.

“His life is already in shambles,” Rollins said.

Robertson and Fracker were among several current or former law enforcement officers who joined in the riot. Prosecutors say Robertson used his police and military training to block officers trying to hold back the advancing crowd.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Aloi said Robertson was prepared for violence when he drove to the Capitol and took a “victory lap” inside the building, where he posed for a selfie with Fracker.

“The defendant is, by all accounts, proud of his conduct on January 6,” she said.

Jurors saw some of Robertson’s social media posts before and after the riot. In a Facebook post on November 7, 2020, Robertson said “being disenfranchised by fraud is my hard line.”

“I spent most of my adult life fighting a counterinsurgency. (I am) about to be a part of it, and a very effective one,” he wrote.

In a letter to the judge, Robertson said he takes full responsibility for his actions on Jan. 6 and for “every bad decision I made.” He blamed the vitriol content of his social media posts on a mixture of stress, alcohol abuse and “submersion in deep ‘rabbit holes’ of election conspiracy theory”.

“I sat up at night drinking too much and reacting to articles and sites given to me by Facebook’s algorithms,” he wrote.

The city fired Robertson and Fracker after the riot. Rocky Mount is about 25 miles south of Roanoke, Virginia, and has a population of about 5,000.

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

Robertson’s jury trial was the second for a Capitol riot case; Reffitt was the first. Jurors unanimously convicted seven Capitol Rioters of all charges in their respective indictments.


Politico

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