Ex-officer testifies against patron in Capitol riot trial

WASHINGTON (AP) — A former Virginia police officer who pleaded guilty to attacking the U.S. Capitol along with another off-duty officer testified Thursday that he expected the crowd to vote on the results of the 2020 presidential election that day. can reverse.

Former Rocky Mount police officer Jacob Fraker, a key witness for federal prosecutors in the trial of former aide Thomas Robertson, said he initially believed he was merely trespassing when he entered the Capitol building.

However, Fraker eventually pleaded guilty to a felony charge that he conspired with Robertson to obstruct Congress from authenticating President Joe Biden’s election victory on January 6, 2021. Fraker agreed to cooperate with federal officials in his case against Robertson, whose jury trial begins Tuesday. ,

Under cross-examination by one of Robertson’s attorneys, Fraker stated that he had no “verbal agreement” with anyone to obstruct a joint session of Congress. Fraker said he believed everyone in the crowd “had pretty much the same goal” and that it didn’t need to be “said out loud”.

Fraker said he and Robertson both believe the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump. One of Robertson’s attorneys, Mark Rollins, asked Fraker if he believed he did anything worse than trespassing on January 6.

“Sitting here today, yes. At that time, no,” replied Fraker.

During the trial’s opening statements, defense attorney Camille Wagner told jurors that Robertson only went to the Capitol because he wanted to retrieve Fraker, who had entered the Capitol minutes before Robertson.

Wagner said that Robertson, whom she called “TJ,” knew she had entered restricted areas of the Capitol where she should not have been on January 6. But he is not accused of involvement in any violence or destruction of property, he noted.

Fraker was to be tried with Robertson before pleading guilty last month. He described Robertson as his mentor and father figure.

“I absolutely hate it,” Fraker testified Wednesday. “I’ve always been on the other side of things, on the side of nice people so to speak.”

After the riot the city fired Robertson and Fraker. Prosecutors say Robertson paid Fraker more than $30,000 after he was arrested. Robertson first offered Fraker the money on the day he surrendered to the authorities, according to a court filing accompanying Fraker’s guilty plea.

Fraker said that Robertson also agreed to cover his legal fees, but he does not believe Robertson was trying to “buy” his testimony with a payment of $30,000.

“They said it would cover a year’s salary for me,” Fracker said.

After the riot, Fraker bragged to friends on social media that he urinated in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s bathroom. It was a lie he made up “to the cool points,” Fraker said.

According to prosecutors, Robertson used a large wooden stick to deter police officers trying to stop the crowd. Police body camera video captured his conversation with the police.

When a prosecutor asked Fraker why he had done nothing more to help police officers trying to stop the crowd, he said he felt they should have marched “on our side” and with the rioters.

“And you didn’t see TJ helping them?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Risa Berkover asked.

“Okay,” said Fraker.

Robertson has been charged with six counts, including obstruction of an official proceeding, civil disorder, entering and remaining in a prohibited building while using a dangerous weapon, and disorderly conduct in the Capitol building. The count of five pertains to his actions on 6 January. The sixth stems from the subsequent destruction of an alleged riot of cellphones belonging to him and Fraker.

Robertson has since been jailed after US District Judge Christopher Cooper ruled in July that he had violated the terms of his pre-trial release with firearms.

More than 770 people have been indicted for riot-related federal crimes. More than 240 of them have confessed to their crime, most of them in rape cases.

Robertson is the second Capitol riot defendant for the jury trial. The first ended last month with a jury indicting a Texas man, Guy Refitt, of all charges.

Two other Capitol riot defendants chose to have their cases tried without a jury and were decided by the same federal judge. On Wednesday, US District Judge Trevor McFadden acquitted a New Mexico man, Matthew Martin, of all four misdemeanors he was charged with. Last month, McFadden pleaded guilty to New Mexico’s elected official Coy Griffin of illegally entering the banned Capitol grounds, but acquitted him of engaging in disorderly conduct.

Leave a Comment