Off-duty Virginia officer who stormed US Capitol pleads guilty, is cooperating with DOJ


(CNN)An off-duty police officer from Virginia who stormed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, pleaded guilty Friday to one count of conspiracy, after striking a plea deal with the Justice Department and agreeing to cooperate against a police colleague who was also charged.

Jacob Fracker, a former officer for the Rocky Mount Police Department, faces a maximum sentence of five years behind bars for the felony, though it’s unlikely he will receive the statutory maximum. He and his colleague — and co-defendant — Thomas Robertson were both fired from the police department after their involvement in the riot became public.

Robertson is scheduled to go to trial later this year. He has pleaded not guilty to the four counts against him, including obstruction of an official proceeding, a felony.

    The development of Fracker’s cooperation against his onetime colleague and friend is a big victory for prosecutors, who have previously described Robertson as a dangerous criminal who is interested in fomenting political violence.

      The duo are part of a sizable chunk of rioters facing charges who have ties to the law enforcement or military communities.

        According to the plea agreement read aloud at a court hearing on Friday, Fracker and Robertson were off-duty on January 6. They wore gas masks during the attack, prosecutors say, and brought tactical gear and other supplies with them to DC. Prosecutors also alleged that Robertson used a stick to stop police officers during the assault on the Capitol.

        After the riot, Robertson allegedly began stockpiling weapons and posting support for future political violence online.

            “I have learned that if you peacefully protest than you will be arrested, fired, be put on a no-fly list,” one post highlighted by prosecutors said. “I have learned very well that if you dip your toe into the Rubicon… cross it. Cross it hard and violent and play for all the marbles.”

            Investigators say they found a rifle and bomb-making material in his home, and learned that he bought another 37 guns on the Internet.