WASHINGTON (WFXR/AP) — During his sentencing hearing on Tuesday, a former Rocky Mount police officer who testified against a friend and former supervisor he joined at the Capitol in the Jan. 6, 2021 riot avoided prison time for his role in it.
Jacob Fracker pleaded guilty in March to a felony charge of conspiring with Thomas Robertson — a former sergeant with the Rocky Mount Police Department — to obstruct Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory on Jan. 6, 2021.
Last week, federal prosecutors recommended six months of probation for Fracker, citing his cooperation in the investigation and his testimony against Robertson. Fracker’s cooperation came at “great personal cost,” prosecutors said, noting that Robertson was not only Fracker’s colleague but also a father figure he sometimes referred to as “dad.”
Fracker, a Marine Corps veteran, told jurors that Robertson had invited him to Washington, D.C., to see then-President Donald Trump speak. The two off-duty officers traveled to Washington in the morning with a third man and donned gas masks as they approached the Capitol and joined the mob of rioters.
Then, on Tuesday, Aug. 16, Fracker was sentenced to one year of probation, with 59 days of home confinement, for his role in the Capitol riot.
During his sentencing hearing in federal court in Washington, Fracker apologized for his actions.
“Yes, I was there with someone else. Yes, I was there because I trusted him based on lies, but he didn’t tell me how to act that day. I acted on my own, and for that I apologize,” Fracker told the judge.
This news comes just days after Robertson, an Army veteran convicted in April of attacking the Capitol to obstruct Congress from certifying the Electoral College vote, was sentenced to seven years and three months in prison — matching the longest sentence so far among hundreds of Capitol riot cases — along with three years of supervised release.
Prosecutors said they wouldn’t have known that Robertson destroyed two cellphones containing incriminating videos and photos taken on Jan. 6, 2021, without Fracker’s cooperation. His testimony also helped prosecutors “establish Robertson’s corrupt intent” to obstruct the congressional proceeding without having to rely on Robertson’s social media postings, prosecutors wrote.
Fracker is the first Capitol riot defendant to be sentenced for a conspiracy conviction and the first defendant to be sentenced after getting a cooperation deal with prosecutors.
Rocky Mount, a town of roughly 5,000 residents about a four-hour drive southwest of Washington, fired Robertson and Fracker after the deadly riot.
Robertson and Fracker are among roughly 850 people who have been charged with federal crimes for their conduct on Jan. 6, 2021. More than 350 of them have pleaded guilty, mostly to misdemeanor offenses, and more than 230 have been sentenced.