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More felony charges 'expected' for officer who bought 37 guns while under Capitol riot indictment

Thomas Robertson, a former Virginia police officer, is currently being held while he awaits trial after a judge found he violated the terms of his pretrial release.

WASHINGTON — More federal charges are expected soon for a former Virginia police officer accused of buying dozens of firearms while under indictment for allegedly entering the U.S. Capitol building during the January 6 Capitol riot.

During a status hearing Tuesday, a federal prosecutor said the Justice Department expects to file additional charges against Thomas Robertson, a former Rocky Mount officer who was indicted with another officer, Jacob Fracker, on five counts in January in connection with the breach of the Capitol building.

Robertson, who had been on pretrial release at his home in Virginia, was ordered back into custody in July after the DOJ submitted evidence he had purchased 37 firearms and had them shipped to a nearby gun shop. Investigators interviewed the gun store owner, who said Robertson had visited the shop to handle several of the guns. They also obtained records of a Venmo transaction in which, they said, Robertson appeared to attempt to hide his purchase of a firearm by labeling the payment as being for “wedding photos.”

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In addition to being a violation of his pretrial release conditions, it’s also a felony for anyone under federal indictment for a crime punishable by at least a year in prison to ship, transport or receive firearms or ammunition in interstate or foreign commerce.

The DOJ did not give a timeframe for when it might file new charges.

The government also said it had extended plea offers to both Fracker and Robertson, but that the offers had not been accepted. U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper asked defense counsel if they were rejecting the offers, or simply hadn’t yet responded, and received different answers.

Fracker’s attorney, Bernard Crane, said his client was unable to accept or reject the offer because it was wired to Robertson’s – meaning they would have to be accepted together. Robertson’s attorney, Mark Rollins, said his client wasn’t interested in the plea and wanted to push forward with a trial date.

The Justice Department responded that it would be willing to discuss a non-wired plea deal with Fracker if he was interested in that.

Fracker and Robertson both face multiple charges in connection with their alleged participation in the January 6 riot, including obstruction of an official proceeding – a felony with a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison. The two men will be back in court for their next status conference on September 23. Cooper has not yet set a trial date in the case.

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