UPDATE 1:30 p.m.: A former Rocky Mount police officer pleaded guilty on Friday to storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 with another former officer, who is scheduled to be tried next month on charges related to the riot.
Jacob Fracker, who was fired by the Town of Rocky Mount after his arrest on Jan. 13, 2021, has agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors, his attorney said.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Fracker pleaded guilty to a felony charge of conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding, the joint session of Congress that convened on Jan. 6, 2021, to certify President Joe Biden’s electoral victory. The felony charge is punishable by a maximum prison sentence of five years.
Even though a date for his sentencing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has yet to be set, officials say he faces up to five years in prison and a potential fine of up to $250,000.
Fracker’s co-defendant, Thomas Robertson, has a trial scheduled to start on April 4. The Town of Rocky Mount also fired Robertson after the Capitol siege.
Fracker and Robertson were off duty when they drove with a neighbor to Washington, D.C., on the morning of Jan. 6, 2021. Fracker’s indictment says Robertson brought three gas masks for them to use.
According to court documents, both brought along their police identification badges and firearms but left those in their vehicle when they arrived in the Washington metropolitan area.
After listening to speeches near the Washington Monument, Fracker, Robertson and the neighbor identified only as “Person A” walked toward the Capitol, donned the gas masks and joined the growing mob, according to the indictment. Robertson was carrying a large wooden stick and used it to impede Metropolitan Police Department officers who arrived to help Capitol police officers hold off the mob, the indictment says.
Fracker and Robertson posed for a photograph inside the Capitol during the attack and later posted about the riot on social media. Robertson was photographed making an obscene gesture in front of a statue of John Stark in the Capitol’s crypt, prosecutors said.
Fracker and Robertson had sworn to uphold the law, even in “the face of volatile and challenging circumstances,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing.
“They broke this public trust when they participated in the riot at the U.S. Capitol,” they added.
Before the riot, Robertson posted on Facebook about his belief that the 2020 presidential election was illegitimate and referenced an “open armed rebellion” and “insurgency,” according to Fracker’s indictment.
“A legitimate republic stands on 4 boxes. The soapbox, the ballot box, the jury box, and then the cartridge box. We just moved to step 3. Step 4 will not be pretty,” he wrote on Nov. 7, 2021.
In his plea, officials say Fracker admitted that by the time he and Robertson entered the Capitol, they had agreed to try to impede, stop, or delay the proceedings going on before Congress and that they aided, assisted, encouraged, and facilitated each other in the conduct.
The U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia, Christopher Kavanaugh, shared the following statement following Fracker’s guilty plea:
“On the morning of January 6, 2021, two off-duty police officers with the Rocky Mount Police Department traveled from the Western District of Virginia to Washington, D.C., where they donned gas masks and sought to stop the joint session of the U.S. Congress in the process of counting electoral votes related to the presidential election, a necessary precondition to the peaceful transfer of power. Today, one of those police officers pled guilty to a felony conspiracy charge and accepted responsibility in United States District Court in Washington, D.C. I am grateful for the tireless work of the Assistant United States Attorneys and the agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Washington and Richmond Field Offices who investigated and prosecuted this case and obtained this just result.”
Robertson’s attorneys didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Friday, March 18. However, he has pleaded not guilty to all charges in the case.
Robertson has been jailed since U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper ruled in July 2021that he violated terms of his pretrial release by possessing firearms. The judge rejected Robertson’s suggestion that 34 guns he ordered before June 29, 2021 when FBI agents searched his home, are simply World War II collectables.
The case is still being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the Roanoke Resident Agency of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office, with assistance from U.S. Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department.
More than 760 people in nearly all 50 states have been charged with federal crimes related to the Capitol riot. Over 230 riot defendants have pleaded guilty, mostly to misdemeanors, and at least 127 of them have been sentenced. Approximately 100 others have trial dates.
Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.
ROCKY MOUNT, Va. (WFXR/WFXR) — WFXR News has learned that a former police officer from Franklin County has pleaded guilty to one charge in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot.
The FBI says two former Rocky Mount officers, Thomas Robertson and Jacob Fracker, posed for a photograph inside the Capitol during the attack and later posted about the riot on social media.
Robertson and Fracker were charged with violent entry, disorderly conduct, and entering a restricted building. Robertson’s charges were then upgraded in January 2022.
Fracker reportedly pleaded guilty to one charge on Friday, March 18.
This is a developing story.