A white former Rocky Mount, Virginia, police officer who was one of the first 100 rioters to storm the Capitol building and had his bail bond revoked because he continued to possess and buy firearms and encouraged political violence has been convicted for his role in the insurrection.
A jury found Thomas Robertson guilty of all six counts against him in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.
On Monday, April 11, Robertson was convicted:
- Obstructing Congress from confirming Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States after his victory over Donald Trump;
- Interfering with Washington D.C. Metro and U.S. Capitol police during the Jan. 6 riot;
- Destroying evidence;
- Entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds;
- Aiding and abetting; obstruction of an official proceeding and trespassing on restricted Capitol grounds with a dangerous weapon;
- And demonstrating disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, the Capitol, while armed with a dangerous weapon.
The federal trial lasted for three days, and the jury deliberated a day and a half before convicting the 49-year-old of the six charges, five of which were felonies.
U.S. Attorney Risa Berkower told the jury during closing arguments: “This defendant gleefully put himself in the thick of the initial crowd of rioters who set off hours of chaos in the Capitol.”
“He was proud about what he did, about what the mob did,” she continued.
Evidence against Robertson and Jacob Frack, his 30-year-old police colleague, demonstrated that pride. It included a shot they took together in front of the John Stark statue inside the Capitol, surveillance video, and officer bodycam footage. Frack called Robertson “dad,” and the accused called the junior “son.”
From this source, prosecutor Elizabeth Aloi and her team were able to determine that around 2:13 p.m. the men were amongst the first 100 rioters to break through the Senate wing doors and windows.
In the footage, Robertson is seen wearing a gas mask and carrying a three-foot-long wooden stick before he gets into a confrontation with officers trying to contain the riotous crowd, refusing to move out of their way.
Some evidence was found on his social media, where he bragged about his involvement. He wrote on a Facebook post on the day of the riot, “We were stomping on the roof of their safe room chanting. WHO’S HOUSE, our HOUSE.”
The same day, he also wrote, “A legitimate republic stands on four boxes: the soap box, the ballot box, the jury box, and then the cartridge box.”
“A government scared of its people. The pictures of them huddled in the floor crying is the most American thing I have ever seen,” he wrote on Jan. 8, ending it by saying, “We … not Antifa. Stormed it.”
Even after being arrested and extended a bond, Robertson continued to show signs that he wanted to overthrow the government.
Authorities arrested the Army veteran five months later after finding over guns and other weapons in his hom
e after Judge G. Michael Harvey mandated as terms of his release that he keep away from all firearms, destructive devices, and/or weapons as he awaited trial.
The judge told him even though he owned guns to move them from his domicile within two days.
However, court reports revealed, in less than a week after his bond release, authorities discovered in his Ferrum, Virginia, home eight firearms. The judge extended grace and did not bring him in for the violation.
In June, during another authorized visit, officers found a loaded M4 carbine and a partially assembled pipe bomb.
Prosecutors also said he purchased 34 firearms online, “transporting them in interstate commerce while under felony indictment,” weapons that were waiting for him at a gun store.
The judge revoked his release order because he twice violated his pretrial release terms.
Robertson’s defense attorney, Mark Rollins, conceded to some of the evidence against his client.
In her closing arguments, Berkower said, “In our democracy, we don’t decide there is no room for vigilante justice, or mob rule, or counterinsurgency.”
She also noted that the evidence in total displayed Robertson’s desire to cause violence, to intimidate and stop Congress from doing its job.
Since Jan. 6, 2021, the Justice Department has prosecuted 770 cases related to the insurrection.