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'Divorced from reality' | DOJ says Maryland man proud of participation in Capitol riot, asks for 2 months behind bars

The Justice Department wants a federal judge to sentence Robert Reeder, of Harford County, Maryland, to jail time for entering the U.S. Capitol building.

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice is asking a federal judge to sentence a Maryland man to two months behind bars for entering the U.S. Capitol building – arguing that he remains proud of his participation in the January 6 riot.

Robert Reeder, of Harford County, Maryland, pleaded guilty in June to one misdemeanor count of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building. The charge carries a maximum sentence of up to 6 months in prison, and Reeder also agreed to pay $500 in restitution to the government.

During a June 23 plea hearing, Reeder’s attorney, Robert Bonsib, argued with some of the language in the plea and said his client wanted to establish for the record that he didn’t force his way into the Capitol and “did not realize he couldn’t enter.”

A Justice Department lawyer pushed back on that, saying, “I think being teargassed was an indication that people were not welcome in the Capitol at that time.”

On Friday, the DOJ filed its sentencing memorandum for Reeder. In it, the agency asks U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan to sentence Reeder to two months of incarceration. In the filing, the DOJ said Reeder’s insistence that he didn’t know he couldn’t enter the building is “divorced from reality” and evidence that he hasn’t fully accepted responsibility for what he and other rioters did on January 6:

“Although the Defendant has pleaded guilty to Parading in the Capitol he appears to be proud of his participation in the attack on the United States Capitol —a violent attack that forced an interruption of the certification of the 2020 Electoral College vote count, threatened the peaceful transfer of power after the 2020 Presidential election, injured more than one hundred law enforcement officers, and resulted in more than a million dollars’ worth of property damage. Indeed, the Defendant was so proud of his participation in the riot that he recorded it for the world to see – to see him chant ‘Fight for Trump’ as he scaled the steps of the Capitol and headed toward the mob entering the building; to see him breach the Capitol twice; to stand by and videotape an officer being assaulted; and to hear him brag that he ‘battle[d] the police.’ For the Defendant, these unlawful acts were a source of pride and accomplishment. For the nation, it was a permanent source of shame and sorrow.”

During the same hearing, Reeder, 55, told Hogan he has lost his security clearance since his arrest and hasn’t been able to work in his former job with the Transportation Security Administration – although the TSA says it has no record of Reeder ever being employed by the agency.

Reeder is scheduled to appear before Hogan again on August 18 at 2 p.m. for his sentencing hearing.

At least 30 defendants have now pleaded guilty in connection with the January 6 breach of the Capitol, including four felony cases. Two more defendants, Scott Fairlamb, of New Jersey, and Devlyn Thompson, of Illinois, were scheduled to enter guilty pleas Friday afternoon.

 We're tracking all of the arrests, charges and investigations into the January 6 assault on the Capitol. Sign up for our Capitol Breach Newsletter here so that you never miss an update.

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