Washington, DC – A former Virginia police officer has pleaded guilty to his role in the Jan. 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol riot and has agreed to testify against a fellow former police officer during his trial next month.
Former Rocky Mount Police Officer Jacob Fracker pleaded guilty in federal court on March 18 to a single count of conspiracy to delay or stop the certification of Electoral College votes on Jan. 6, 2021, The Washington Post reported.
Per the terms of his plea agreement, Fracker must fully cooperate with federal authorities, to include testifying against now-former Rocky Mount Police Sergeant Thomas “T.J.” Robertson, for his alleged role in the riot.
Fracker faces a possible sentence of 15 to 21 months in prison, The Washington Post reported.
Robertson’s trial is scheduled to begin on April 4.
Both men were arrested Jan. 13, 2021 on charges of knowingly engaging in conduct that disrupts government business, knowingly entering a restricted building without authority to do so, and engaging in disruptive conduct at the Capitol in order to interfere with a session of Congress, according to The Roanoke Times.
Sgt. Robertson and Officer Fracker, both of whom are military veterans, were charged after they shared a photo of themselves posing in front of the John Stark statue inside the U.S. Capitol, according to The Roanoke Times.
The image showed Officer Fracker making an obscene gesture while Sgt. Robertson stood next to him holding onto the wooden pole of an American flag.
Sgt. Robertson insisted he did nothing wrong and said he and Officer Fracker had been ushered into the Capitol building by police on the day of the riot, WSET reported.
He further claimed he didn’t witness any violence inside the area that he said police had allowed them access to, according to WAVY.
But prosecutors said Sgt. Robertson bragged to friends about witnessing U.S. senators “cowering on the floor with genuine fear on their faces,” saying it was “the most American thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” WSET reported.
Both officers were initially placed on paid leave while the situation was being investigated, and then were later suspended with pay, WSET reported.
The officers refused to resign when the department asked them to do so and both were fired on Jan. 26, 2021.
A federal grand jury ultimately indicted both former officers on five counts, to include obstruction of an official proceeding, WUSA reported.
Robertson has also been indicted on additional charges of aiding and abetting and civil disorder.
Prosecutors alleged Robertson started talking about an “insurgency” and an “open armed rebellion” after former President Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss, WUSA reported.
“I’m prepared to start one here and know a bunch of like minded and trained individuals,” Robertson wrote in a Facebook post, according to court documents.
“A legitimate republic stands on 4 boxes. The soapbox, the ballot box, the jury box and then the cartridge box. We just moved to step 3. Step 4 will not be pretty,” the now-former sergeant wrote in another post. “I cannot speak for others, but being disenfranchised by fraud is my hard line. I’ve spent most of my adult life fighting a counter insurgency. I’m about to become part of one, and a very effective one.”
Robertson and Fracker were both granted pretrial release, but Robertson was returned to jail in July of 2021 after he allegedly violated the terms of his release by purchasing 37 firearms, WUSA reported.
Investigators said they also found ammunition and a pipe bomb at Robertson’s home, according to The Roanoke Times.
It’s against federal law for anyone with a felony indictment to ship, transport, or receive firearms or ammunition in interstate or foreign commerce.
Investigators got warrants for Robertson’s Yahoo and Venmo accounts and found multiple messages and transactions they said were connected to the illegal sales of firearms.
The FBI accused Robertson of trying to hide one purchase via Venmo by labeling it “Wedding Photos,” WUSA reported.
The investigation found Robertson had purchased 34 firearms after he was ordered not to possess any.
The purchases included multiple M1 carbines and hundreds of rounds of armor-piercing ammunition, WUSA reported.
In accordance with the terms of his plea agreement, Fracker has agreed to testify about the plan he and Robertson developed to bring gas masks and other tactical gear to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in an effort to obstruct Congress in the electoral vote count, according to WUSA.
He is also expected to testify that the former sergeant brought along a large wooden stick, which he allegedly used to impede Capitol Police.
Robertson faces a potential sentence of at least five years in prison if he is convicted, WUSA reported.