Federal jury finds ex-cop involved in Jan 6 Capitol riot guilty on all charges

Fifteen months have passed since the events of January 6, 2021 transpired at the Capitol and, with hundreds of Americans being held without due process, a former Virginia police officer became one of the only defendants to complete a trial Monday when a federal jury convicted him on all charges.

Former Rocky Mount police officer Thomas Robertson’s trial began April 5 where he was facing six charges for his participation at the Capitol. Reporting on his charges has been heavily skewed, taking advantage of the lengthy wording of the counts to drive home a narrative.

KKCO reported a rudimentary list that included: Obstruction of an Official Proceeding and Aiding and Abetting, Civil Disorder and Aiding and Abetting, Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building or Grounds, Disorderly and Disruptive Conduct in a Restricted Building or Ground, Disorderly Conduct in a Capitol Building and Obstruction of an Official Proceeding.

The official court documents do list that Robertson was carrying a “deadly and dangerous weapon, that is, a large wooden stick.” However, the severity of his actions has been wildly overblown and does not match the offenses for which he had been found guilty.

CNN pointed to remarks from prosecutors that cited Robertson’s online activity where he allegedly called for an “opened [sic] armed rebellion.” Assistant US attorney Elizabeth Aloi told the jury during opening arguments that, “The defendant made good on that promise.”

Their coverage later went on to state that investigators said they found “bomb-making material” in Robertson’s home along with a rifle before they learned he had purchased 37 guns following his original arrest after Jan 6. They do not report what the former officer was charged with and lead the reader to believe those materials are connected.

Similarly, Mediaite presented the “open armed rebellion” line and mentioned the bomb-making materials, for which Robertson was arrested in July for violation of a pretrial agreement while failing to list his charges and associating a report from one D.C. Metropolitan police officer who said he was struck by a stick to the defendant who wasn’t charged with assault.

Other outlets utilized similar tactics to maintain a narrative while saying little about why the jury actually convicted Roberston. What is known is that Jacob Fracker, Robertson’s former colleague from Rocky Mount police, pled out in agreement to testify against Robertson.

That testimony included information regarding the sixth charge against Robertson for his destruction of a cell phone that may have contained information relevant to the investigation. Robertson did not testify in his own defense.

“While Mr. Robertson disagrees with the jury’s decision, he respects the rule of law” Defense attorney Mark Rollins stated according to the AP. Rollins acknowledged that his client did in fact break the law by entering the Capitol on Jan 6 but, “There were no plans to go down there and say, ‘I’m going to stop Congress from doing this vote.'”

One juror told the AP, “I think the government made a really compelling case and the evidence was fairly overwhelming.”

While more than 250 participants have pleaded guilty to misdemeanors thus far, hundreds more charged with federal crimes await trial. A sentencing date has yet to be announced for Robertson.

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Kevin Haggerty

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