- A former Virginia police officer was convicted in April on six counts related to the Capitol riot.
- Thomas Robertson wrote a letter to the judge about his state of mind before and on January 6.
- Robertson noted his stress, excess drinking, and a "rabbit hole" of election conspiracy theories.
A former police officer who was convicted on multiple counts related to participating in the Capitol riot said he was under stress, drinking too much, and in a "rabbit hole" of conspiracy theories leading up to the insurrection.
Thomas Robertson, 49, was a police officer in Rocky Mount, Virginia, but was fired shortly after his arrest in January 2021. In April, he was found guilty by a jury on six counts, including obstructing an official proceeding and entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds while carrying a dangerous weapon.
In a letter filed Thursday ahead of his sentencing, Robertson said he took responsibility for what he did but wanted to make the judge aware of things that "may have contributed to" his state of mind before and on January 6, 2021.
Months before the attack, Robertson said he became the primary caretaker for an older friend who had brain cancer, in addition to being a police sergeant and small farmer. The older friend was a "vocal and enthusiastic Trump supporter and as a result of caring for him I was exposed to lots of pro Trump, anti Biden media."
Robertson said the stress he was experiencing caused him to drink more than he ever had before, adding that "shameful" social media posts he made leading up to January 6 were "a product of stress, alcohol abuse, and submersion in deep 'rabbit holes' of election conspiracy theory."
"I sat around at night drinking too much and reacting to articles and sites given to me by Facebook algorythms [sic]," he wrote. "The result was shameful and not at all indicative of the person I am, or have ever been."
Robertson also said that while he doesn't dispute his actions that day, he did not go to DC intending to disrupt Congress and that he had no intent to use his "walking stick" as a weapon.
In a court filing accompanying the letter, Robertson's lawyer requested a sentence of 15 months.
"Mr. Robertson, like many Americans, believed the President of the United States was telling him that the election was stolen. He had never been political before, but the President was bolstering that the election was stolen, and given his state of mind at the time, he believed it," the filing said.
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