Two off-duty Rocky Mount, Virginia, police officers were photographed inside the US Capitol Crypt on Jan. 6, 2021. Jacob Fracker, left, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge Friday, March 18, 2022. Thomas Robertson, right, maintains his innocence. US Department of Justice photo.
An ex-cop from Virginia who stormed Capitol Hill in early 2021 to stop lawmakers from naming Joe Biden president has pleaded guilty to a federal felony charge.
Jacob Fracker, a former Rocky Mount police officer, faces up to five years behind bars for conspiring to obstruct the Electoral College vote count. He remains free on his own recognizance.
Fracker, 30, inked a plea deal with federal prosecutors Tuesday, March 15, and it was accepted by US District Senior Judge Royce C. Lamberth Friday. Before his plea, Fracker faced eight other charges, including witness tampering, disorderly conduct, and violent entry. His sentencing hearing in Washington, DC, has not yet been scheduled.
The trial of Fracker’s co-defendant, ex-Rocky Mount police Officer Thomas Robertson, 49, is slated to kick off by April 4, according to the federal court docket. Under the terms of Fracker’s plea deal, prosecutors can call him to testify against Robertson.
“On the morning of Jan. 6, 2021, two off-duty police officers with the Rocky Mount Police Department traveled from the Western District of Virginia to Washington, DC, where they donned gas masks and sought to stop the joint session of the US Congress in the process of counting electoral votes related to the presidential election, a necessary precondition to the peaceful transfer of power,” US Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh said in a prepared statement released after Fracker’s Friday hearing.
Neither Fracker nor his criminal defense attorney responded to messages from Coffee or Die Magazine seeking comment.
FBI agents said the off-duty officers had traveled together from Rocky Mount to Washington, DC, radicalized by the outcome of the Nov. 3, 2020, election, which they believed had been stolen from incumbent Donald Trump.
In court filings, prosecutors accused Fracker and Robertson of storming past US Capitol Police to enter the Capitol through damaged doors.
On his Facebook page, Fracker posted that things were “gonna get spicy.”
When Metropolitan Police Department officers from Civil Disturbance Unit Platoon 42 rushed to aid the embattled US Capitol Police, Fracker and a big-stick-wielding Robertson allegedly tried to hold them back, according to the indictment.
Capitol Police union Chairman Gus Papathanasiou has estimated that at least 140 US Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Department officers were injured during what he termed the Jan. 6 “insurrection.” In court filings, Robertson strongly disputes that he ever acted violently during the incident.
For Robertson’s trial, prosecutors have compiled an evidence list that’s 10 pages long, including video footage, photographs, and social media postings by both ex-cops. One photo shows them posing inside the US Capitol Crypt, with Fracker flipping an obscene gesture near the statute of Revolutionary War patriot Maj. Gen. John Stark.
“Don’t share these. Just thought you should know there’s hitters out here trying to make a fucking difference at any cost,” Fracker wrote on Facebook the day after the riot.
In a Jan. 10, 2021, Facebook post, Fracker typed, “Lol to anyone who’s possibly concerned about the picture of me going around.” In that message, Fracker also insisted he never did anything illegal and alluded to his military service spent defending the civil rights of Americans.
Before his indictment, Fracker had served honorably in the US Marine Corps, deploying to Afghanistan, and had then enlisted in the Virginia Army National Guard. He joined the Rocky Mount police force in 2017 and was a K9 officer before he attended the 2021 rally.
Robertson is a US Army veteran who deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia.
Rocky Mount officials fired Fracker and Robertson on Jan. 26, 2021, four days after they were suspended from the police department without pay.
Carl Prine is a former senior editor at Coffee or Die Magazine. He has worked at Navy Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He served in the Marine Corps and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His awards include the Joseph Galloway Award for Distinguished Reporting on the military, a first prize from Investigative Reporters & Editors, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
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