A former Virginia police officer who was fired for allegedly storming the Capitol on Jan. 6 with his platoon sergeant has pleaded guilty to a felony and will cooperate with prosecutors.
Jacob Fracker, 30, formerly a K9 unit officer with the Rocky Mount Police Department in Virginia, was accused of traveling to Washington with his platoon sergeant Thomas Robertson. Once there, the duo allegedly joined the mob which headed to the Capitol after Donald Trump‘s so-called “Stop the Steal” rally.
Fracker pleaded guilty; Robertson’s case is scheduled to go to trial April 4.
Donning gas masks, both men allegedly entered the Capitol and took a picture of themselves inside the Capitol Crypt. The pair made an obscene gesture to the camera and stood in front of a statue of Revolutionary War Major General John Stark, according to evidence presented by the FBI.
On Friday, Fracker pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruct, influence, and impede Congress’ certification of the Electoral College vote that would confirm Joe Biden‘s win over Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
Blocking the certification was the alleged intent of the violent mob that overran police at the Capitol that day and succeeded, at least temporarily: lawmakers and staff members were forced to hide or evacuate as Trump supporters, including some targeting specific members of Congress, forced their way into the Capitol building.
The conspiracy charge is punishable by up to five years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine.
In his plea, Fracker said he and Robertson had agreed to try and “impede, stop, or delay” the Electoral College certification and assisted each other in doing so, including by standing in the path of Metropolitan Police Department officers who were trying to control the riotous crowd.
Fracker also admitted that on Jan. 6, he made social media posts that “supported and encouraged the mob’s actions” at the Capitol that day.
According to court records, both Fracker and Robertson were off duty when they traveled to Washington on Jan. 6. They had brought their police ID badges and firearms with them, but left them in the car.
Fracker’s guilty plea was never a sure thing. In August, he and Robertson rejected a “wired” plea agreement, meaning that they both needed to accept the offer in order for it to take effect.
At the time, Fracker lawyer Bernard Crane told U.S. District Court Judge Christopher R. Cooper that since Robertson rejected the plea, Fracker had no choice but to do the same.
With Fracker’s guilty plea, that appears to have changed.
Robertson is set to go to trial on April 4. It is not clear what role, if any, Fracker will play; the DOJ told Law&Crime that it does not comment on pending cases, and Crane did not immediately respond to Law&Crime’s request for comment.
Fracker entered the plea before U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth.
According to federal prosecutors, Robertson was decidedly more outspoken than Fracker: as early as Nov. 7, 2020, he had made social media posts about the need to strike back with force against the results of the presidential election.
“A legitimate republic stands on 4 boxes,” Robertson wrote in messages retrieved by the federal government. “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. 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. Im about to become part of one, and a very effective one.”
On Dec. 19, 2020, Robertson wrote on Facebook (again, according to the feds) that he was prepared to start an “open and armed rebellion” and an “insurgency,” adding that he knew “a bunch of like minded and trained individuals.”
Prosecutors say an FBI search of Robertson’s home revealed firearms, weapons, and explosives, including a partially-assembled pipe bomb. Robertson had been ordered not to have any firearms or explosives as a condition of bond, and in July Judge Cooper ordered him back to jail pending trial.
No sentencing date was set due to Fracker’s cooperation agreement with the federal government. The parties agreed to meet for a status conference on April 28.
Read the superseding information here.
[Images via FBI court filing.]
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