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Virginia law enforcement officer convicted for involvement in capitol protest faces eight years

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Federal prosecutors are recommending an 8-12 months prison sentence for an off-duty Virginia police 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.

Former Rocky Mount Police Sgt. Thomas Robertson used his law enforcement education to block law enforcement officers who have been trying to safeguard the Capitol from a mob’s attack on Jan. 6, 2021, prosecutors mentioned in a courtroom filing Thursday supporting their sentencing advice.

“As an alternative of applying his instruction and electric power to advertise the public excellent, he attempted to overthrow the govt,” they wrote.

An eight-yr prison sentence would be the longest amid hundreds of Capitol riot instances. The lengthiest so far is 7 a long time and a few months for Man Reffitt, a Texas person who attacked the Capitol although armed with a holstered handgun.

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U.S. District Choose Christopher Cooper is scheduled to sentence Robertson following Thursday. Prosecutors also asked the choose to sentence Robertson to a few decades of supervised release just after any jail time period.

Robertson’s legal professional, Mark Rollins, is searching for a sentence underneath a sentencing rules array of 27 to 33 months of imprisonment. Prosecutors estimate a sentencing suggestions range of 87 months to 108 months, but Cooper isn’t bound by any of individuals estimates or suggestions.

Robertson didn’t testify at his demo prior to a jury convicted him in April of all six counts in his indictment, which includes costs that he interfered with police officers at the Capitol and that he entered a restricted space with a perilous weapon, a massive wood adhere.

Robertson’s legal professionals stated the U.S. Army veteran was employing the adhere to help him walk for the reason that he has a limp from getting shot in the ideal thigh though doing work as a non-public contractor for the U.S. Protection Section in Afghanistan in 2011.

In their sentencing memo, prosecutors accused Robertson of lying about his navy support. Robertson determined himself on his resume as a U.S. Military Ranger school graduate, but his official military data never support that claim, prosecutors said. They stated Robertson also lied to a reporter about getting a Purple Coronary heart.

Federal prosecutors are recommending an 8-calendar year jail sentence for an off-duty Virginia police officer who was convicted of storming the U.S. Capitol. 
(Online News 72h Photograph/John Minchillo, File)

Robertson’s jury trial was the 2nd for a Capitol riot scenario. Reffitt’s was the to start with. Jurors have unanimously convicted seven riot defendants of all fees in their respective indictments.

Robertson traveled to Washington, D.C., on the morning of Jan. 6 with co-employee Jacob Fracker and a 3rd man, a neighbor. Fracker also was an off-obligation Rocky Mount law enforcement officer. He was scheduled to be experimented with alongside Robertson just before he pleaded responsible to a conspiracy demand and agreed to cooperate with authorities.

Fracker testified at Robertson’s trial that he originally considered that he was just trespassing when he entered the Capitol making. But he eventually pleaded responsible to conspiring with Robertson to impede Congress.

Robertson’s attorneys conceded that he broke the legislation when he entered the Capitol during the riot. They encouraged jurors to convict Robertson of misdemeanor offenses but acquit him of felony rates.

Jurors saw some of Robertson’s posts on social media ahead of and right after the Capitol riot. In a Fb write-up on Nov. 7, 2020, Robertson claimed “getting disenfranchised by fraud is my tricky line.”

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“I’ve invested most of my adult lifetime battling a counter insurgency. (I’m) about to turn out to be aspect of just one, and a very powerful a single,” he wrote.

In a letter tackled to the choose, Robertson explained he requires whole duty for his actions on Jan. 6 and “any weak conclusions I made.” He blamed the vitriolic information of his social media posts on a mix of tension, alcoholic beverages abuse and “submersion in deep ‘rabbit holes’ of election conspiracy concept.”

“I sat all over at evening ingesting as well substantially and reacting to articles and web-sites specified to me by Facebook” algorithms, he wrote.

The town fired Robertson and Fracker right after the riot. Rocky Mount is about 25 miles south of Roanoke and has approximately 5,000 inhabitants.

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Robertson has been jailed considering that Cooper ruled very last 12 months that he violated the terms of his pretrial release by possessing firearms.

Around 850 individuals have been charged with federal crimes for their conduct on Jan. 6. Over 350 of them have pleaded guilty, mostly to misdemeanor offenses, and above 220 have been sentenced so much.

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