A former Virginia police officer was sentenced Thursday to more than seven years in federal prison for his role in the January 6 riot, tying for the most severe sentence for a Capitol riot-related case so far, as federal prosecutors and judges work their way through hundreds of defendants arrested in the wake of the 2021 attack.
A federal judge sentenced Thomas Robertson to 87 months in prison, about four months after jurors convicted him of obstruction of Congress, entering a restricted area with a dangerous weapon and four other counts.
In a pair of sentencing memos, the Department of Justice asked for Robertson to be sentenced to 96 months, while Robertson’s attorneys asked for a 15-month sentence.
Prosecutors say Robertson—an off-duty police officer from Rocky Mount, Virginia, who was later fired—entered the Capitol during the January 6 riot wielding a wooden stick, and “confronted” local police officers outside the building.
Robertson pleaded not guilty and reportedly insisted at trial he used the wooden stick to walk and only entered the Capitol building to find Jacob Fracker, another off-duty Virginia cop with whom he attended the January 6 riot.