As a three-day federal trial concluded, one of the two former Rocky Mount police officers who participated in the events of the US Capitol insurrection was found guilty on all six charges brought against him.
Thomas “T.J.” Robertson was the second of more than 750 supporters of President Donald Trump charged for his role in the insurrection to face a jury in federal court, where jurors deliberated for about 12 hours. Jacob Fracker, the other former Rocky Mount police officer, took an obscene selfie with Robertson while in the Capitol.
Berkower used testimony from Robertson’s colleague Fracker, who joined him that day after Trump urged his followers to “fight like hell.” Fracker pleaded guilty on March 18, and is set to be sentenced later.
It was Robertson’s social media posts that led Assistant US Attorney Risa Berkower to use them against him in her closing arguments. One of his posts said the time had come for an “armed revolution,” reported The Roanoke Times’ Lawrence Hammack.
In a social media post days after the insurrection took place, Robertson wrote: “CNN and the Left are just mad because we actually attacked the government who is the problem and not some random small business…The right IN ONE DAY took the f—— Capitol. Keep poking us.”
He had been previously jailed in July for violating his bond conditions, when he ordered 35 assault-style firearms on the internet, and posted this to a gun rights forum: “They are trying to teach us a lesson. They have. But it’s definitely not the intended lesson. I have learned that if you peacefully protest that you will be arrested, fired, be put on a no fly list, have your name smeared and address released by the FBI so every loon in the U.S. can send you hate mail,” he wrote, according to a motion made by prosecutors to revoke his bond.”
“Despite the defendant’s best efforts to derail democracy that day, we are here today at the jury box,” she said.
In a “mountain of evidence” that was presented at the trial, proof was shown that Robertson had obstructed the meeting of Congress to certify the results of the 2020 election, lawfully won by Joe Biden.
He was one of the first rioters on the scene, paving the way for others in the mob of people to follow.
Robertson was found guilty Monday April 11 with obstructing a special session of Congress, impeding police, entering a restricted area, as well as two counts of disorderly conduct. The sixth charge against him accused him of destroying his cellular phone when he learned he would be arrested, which allegedly held evidence against him from that day.
Robertson’s defense attorney, Mark Rollins, argued that there wasn’t any evidence to support that he had impeded police officers using a large wooden stick, noting that it was used as a walking aid for the Army veteran, and that it could have happened during the chaos and confusion that unfolded that day when members of Congress had to be evacuated from the premises.
A Metropolitan police officer testified that they had been struck by Roberston’s stick, as they were trying to help Capitol police officers contain the mob.
His defense attorney also tried to argue that his client had not engaged in physical violence or property damage, and that he was merely participating in the insurrection.
Five of the six charges he was found guilty of are felonies, each punishable by up to 20 years in jail.
“In our democracy, we don’t decide elections with a cartridge box,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Berkower said during the closing arguments. “In our democracy, there is no room for vigilante justice, or mob rule, or counterinsurgency.”
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