Two former police officers reject plea offers in Jan. 6 case

Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather in Washington
Pro-Trump protesters storm into the U.S. Capitol during clashes with police, during a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, in Washington, U.S, January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

WASHINGTON, Aug 17 (Reuters) - Two former police officers from Rocky Mount, Virginia, have rejected initial plea deal offers by the U.S. Justice Department to resolve charges stemming from their role in storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, a federal prosecutor said on Tuesday.

Thomas Robertson and Jacob Fracker, who at the time was also a corporal for the National Guard, are both charged with obstructing an official proceeding, as well as lesser charges including violent entry and disorderly conduct.

In a status hearing on Tuesday, federal prosecutor Elizabeth Aloi said both defendants had rejected initial offers to settle the case, though an attorney for Fracker said his client would be open to negotiating a separate deal that is not tied to Robertson's alleged conduct.

Last month, U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper ordered Robertson to be detained in jail pending trial, after prosecutors said the FBI had discovered that since his arrest, Robertson was still buying firearms and ammunition online.

The FBI searched Robertson's home on June 29 and found a loaded M4 military assault rifle and what appeared to be a partially assembled pipe bomb.

Cooper, in his ruling on July 28, said there was "probable cause to believe that Roberston committed a felony" by shipping firearms while on pretrial release.

To date, however, the government has not filed any additional charges against him.

Fracker, meanwhile, remains out of custody on his own personal recognizance.

His attorney, Bernard Crane, told the judge on Tuesday, his client "didn't have an opportunity to consider or reject" the plea offer "because it's wired to the co-defendant and the co-defendant doesn't have any interest in a plea offer."

Aloi said her office is willing to continue negotiating separately on a deal that is not "wired" to both defendants.

More than 570 people have been charged in connection with the riot at the Capitol.

Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; editing by Jonathan Oatis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.