The phrase “never Tweet” is a popular, if ironic, adage on Twitter. For one alleged Capitol Hill rioter, however, the warning to keep a lid on one’s thoughts might be better expressed as “never post . . . at all.”
On Tuesday morning, the FBI arrested 56-year-old Cookeville, Tenn. resident Michael Timbrook for his role in the failed pro-Trump siege on the national legislative seat of government on Jan. 6. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Timbrook is currently charged with one count each of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority (18 U.S.C. §1752) and violent entry and disorderly conduct on capitol grounds (40 U.S.C. §5104).
If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 1.5 years in prison. And, though the maximum sentence is typically unlikely, Timbrook’s social media posts appear poised to become critical pieces of evidence.
“First ever chat with the FBI today,” one Facebook post begins. “To be honest, it comes as a relief. The agents were exemplary! Respectful, courteous, direct. My chastening is forthcoming, and will undoubtedly hurt my wallet, but I feel no remorse or shame.”
When it comes time to offer an allocution, however, remorse and shame are more or less some of the key emotions that judges tend to be looking for. In other words, a plea agreement is premised on a defendant owning up to the severity and lawlessness of his behavior. And, if a judge has a good reason to suspect the would-be plea-taker is less-than-contrite, the results can blow up spectacularly in a defendant’s face. Indeed, evidence that suggests a defendant is proud of his alleged crimes is likely to be cited by the prosecution.
Another such Facebook post from Timbrook’s account is a prime candidate:
Sorry friends and family, but I guess all y’all hate me now. I’ve been admonished, criticized, judged and condemned, for what I consider to be an act of patriotism, by the entire news media, celebrity class, political class, religious groups, hell everybody with a social media has weighed in and found us Guilty of violating the Sanctity of a public building. All the while for the past two generations that I know of, we’ve been complaining about how crooked our government is and there’s nothing we can do. Blah blah blah . . . I’m PROUD of everyone who went in there, even the 30 or so rowdy ones. Go ahead and ban me now because I have found my voice and am going to tell this story.
“Capital [sic] Police Wrongly Vilified!” another, less cogent, post attributed to Timbrook begins — in apparent reference to widespread criticism that many members of the U.S. Capitol Police appeared friendly to the Jan. 6 rioters.
“Officers on the line were PATRIOTS (for the most part.) Looks like someone has a reason to want to REPLACE them?” that post continues. “I can GUARANTEE you that the cops could have led this parade through like a tour BUT it would have dirtied the carpet. Political Elites are at fault, NOT patriots!”
Formal court documents against Timbrook have yet to be filed. He is the 11th person from the Volunteer State to be charged in connection with the Capitol Hill riots, according to The Tennessean. He is currently slated to appear before a U.S. magistrate judge on Tuesday afternoon.
[image via U.S. Department of Justice]
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