Ex-policeman storming US Capitol jailed after buying 37 guns | MCUTimes

Ex-policeman storming US Capitol jailed after buying 37 guns

Thomas Robertson, a retired Army reservist who later worked for the Rocky Mount Police Department, was one of those first rebels charged by the Ministry of Justice.

He was released in January but was re-arrested this month after investigators said they found a rifle and bomb-making material in his home, and they also learned that he recently bought another 37 guns on the Internet. Judge Christopher Cooper’s ruling means Robertson will remain behind bars until his case is resolved, which could take months or even drag into 2022.

His lawyer said Robertson is in solitary confinement for his own safety because he is a former police officer. He pleaded not guilty to four counts, including felony criminal mischief for obstruction of justice.

“There is reasonable cause to believe that Robertson committed a crime – intentional shipment or transportation of firearms and ammunition despite being under crime,” Cooper wrote in a decision, concluding that there was no way to protect the public. without holding Robertson in jail.

“Robertson’s purchase of these dangerous weapons under the surrounding circumstances increases the risk to public safety,” Cooper added.

The case highlights why prosecutors, federal judges and national security officials has warned of continued political violence from disillusioned supporters of former President Donald Trump.

Prosecutors say Robertson called for more violence after Jan. 6. He allegedly claimed online that “the only voice these people will now listen to is violence,” so people should “put on armor or just stay home.” After what prosecutors said, Robertson began buying more weapons.

“I have learned that if you protest peacefully than you will be arrested, fired, put on a flight list,” he allegedly said on a online pistolforum last month. “I learned very well that if you dip your toe in Rubicon … cross it. Cross it hard and violent and play for all the balls.”

The judge took note of these and other posts, pointing out that they took place at the same time that Robertson was going on a “remarkable shopping spree for high-powered assault weapons.” Prosecutors claimed he spent about $ 16,000 on the cannons over a two-month period.

“Both in the immediate aftermath of the uprising and recently, Robertson has expressed remorse and endorsed future political violence,” Cooper wrote in the 14-page decision.

Robertson’s lawyers argued unsuccessfully for his release. They claimed he was an “antique gun lover” and that the rifle in his bedroom was from World War II. They also said the alleged tube bomb was “inactive” and intended for training because Robertson was a law enforcement instructor. (The judge did not buy the antique gun argument and concluded that “the record shows something else.”)

The case took a turn last week when Robertson’s son took a stand and testified that one M4 rifle found in his father’s bedroom belonged to him. The son, Hunter Robertson, claimed under oath that FBI agents “did not” ask him about the rifle when they interviewed him while searching the house. His father was not present when the FBI executed the search warrant.

Prosecutor Elizabeth Aloi disputed the son’s claim of the FBI, saying he “has now made inconsistent statements for law enforcement,” raising the possibility that he broke the law by lying. The judge said, “His testimony may accuse him,” and asked the son to hire a lawyer.

This story has been updated with further details.

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