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Topline

A federal jury on Monday convicted an ex-police officer charged with storming the Capitol with a wooden stick during the January 6 riot—the second Capitol riot defendant to be found guilty at trial.

Key Facts

Thomas Robertson—a former Virginia police officer who was fired following the riot—was convicted on six counts, including obstruction of Congress and entering a restricted area with a dangerous weapon, Bill Miller, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, confirmed to Forbes.

Prosecutors said Robertson entered the Capitol building with a large wooden stick that he used to interfere with police officers.

Robertson pleaded not guilty, and his defense lawyers claimed he entered the Capitol building to find Jacob Fracker—another former police officer from the small town of Rocky Mount with whom Robertson traveled to Washington the morning of the riot—and only used the wooden stick to help him walk, according to the Associated Press.

Fracker, who pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge related to the riot last month and agreed to cooperate with authorities, testified at Robertson’s trial and admitted to conspiring with Robertson to obstruct Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s victory—though he claimed there was no verbal agreement of such a plan, the AP said.

Prosecutors pointed to Robertson’s Facebook posts prior to the riot, in which he claimed he was about to become a part of an effective “counter insurgency.”

What We Don’t Know

Robertson’s sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled, according to Miller.

Key Background

Robertson’s conviction follows that of Guy Reffitt, a Texas man with ties to an anti-government extremist group known as the Texas Three Percenters who stormed the Capitol on January 6 with a holstered handgun and interfered with police. Last month, a federal jury convicted Reffitt of five felonies, making him the first person to be convicted of federal crimes in relation to the January 6 riot. Nearly 800 people have been arrested for alleged involvement in the riot, with more than 250 pleading guilty to federal charges, though most have been misdemeanors.

Source: Forbes

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