Months after his conviction on charges resulting from the Capitol attack, Thomas Robertson remarked in an online firearms forum that the Justice Department had taught accused rioters a lesson — but “definitely not the intended lesson.”

“I have learned very well that if you dip your toe into the Rubicon … cross it,” Robertson said on the website, according to a court complaint. “Cross it hard and violent and play for all the marbles.”

Third Trial in January 6 incident

Robertson is putting that lesson to the test Monday, when he is slated to become the third suspected Capitol rioter to stand trial on charges from the January 6 revolt.

A former police officer in Rocky Mount, Virginia, Robertson was off-duty when he rushed the Capitol alongside a fellow officer, Jacob Fracker, on January 6, authorities said. Once inside, the two posed in front of a statue of John Stark — a general in the Continental Army during the American Revolution — with Fracker flashing his middle finger, according to a court document.

Both were later sacked by the Rocky Mount Police Department.

For federal prosecutors, Robertson’s trial comes on the heels of successive courtroom prosecutions. In March, a jury took mere hours to issue guilty verdicts in the first trial tied to the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

Thomas Robertson

Later in March, a federal judge convicted another suspected rioter guilty of trespassing on restricted Capitol grounds—a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of a year in prison — but acquitted him of a separate disorderly conduct charge.

Those verdicts have coincided with rising pressure on Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Justice Department to hold former President Donald Trump accountable for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

In recent weeks, the New York Times and Washington Post have reported that the Justice Department’s investigation has widened to include figures involved in the planning of a pro-Trump rally that preceded the Capitol attack on January 6 and the push by some of the former president’s allies to promote slates of fake electors.

Jacob Fracker, Thomas’s friend turned cooperator

Robertson’s trial is expected to involve testimony from Fracker, who pled guilty in March to plotting to impede the joint session of Congress on January 6.

So much for sticking together. As part of his plea deal, Fracker agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department and testify that he and Robertson conspired to carry tactical gear, including gas masks, to the Capitol on January 6 to disrupt the certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory. Fracker faces a maximum sentence of 5 years in jail. With is telling on his friend, we expect he will shave some time off, which will, in turn, be added to Thomas Robertson’s sentence, if and when he gets one.

After their arrest in January 2021, officials released Robertson and Fracker. But a federal court ordered Robertson back to jail in July after the Justice Department provided proof that he purchased more than 30 firearms while under federal indictment. A check of his home had turned up an M4 rifle, a half pipe bomb, and two fuses used on training grenades.

Thomas Robertson

In court filings seeking his pre-trial custody, prosecutors stressed Robertson’s former employment as a police officer and social media statements after January 6 that showed a “sincere commitment to violence.”

Robertson, “holding a position of public trust as a police officer, traveled to the District of Columbia and participated in one of the most riotous acts of the insurrection the nation has ever seen,” prosecutors stated. “Then, he persistently and flagrantly ignored the Court’s orders not to possess weapons after being chastised for breaking this condition of his release shortly after his initial arrest.

Judge Christopher Cooper sends Robertson back to jail

In ordering him back to jail, Judge Christopher Cooper said Robertson likely committed a new felony charge by having the firearms delivered on his behalf.

Cooper, an Obama appointment to the federal trial court in Washington, DC, said Robertson appeared to have also attempted to disguise the purchase by attaching the term “Wedding Photos” to a $3,700 transaction through the financial transaction network Venmo for the weapons.

“The undisputed facts demonstrate a concrete risk that Robertson might participate in or provide material support to acts of ideologically motivated violence if released at this time,” Cooper said. “His recent social media posts may contain elements of bravado and hyperbole, but they provide evidence that Robertson is sympathetic to calls for a violent ‘revolution,’ and has been further radicalized by his pending prosecution.”

Cooper is slated to preside over jury selection Monday. If convicted, Robertson risks a potential years-long sentence in federal prison.

Source: businessinsider