I am only a “lover of ancient weapons”
Former Virginia cop accused of secretly buying more than 30 guns after storming the Capitol insists his secret arsenal did not violate his preconditions for trial because he did not not in his possession the old weapons he had ordered online.
Thomas Robertson, a former Rocky Mount Police sergeant, faces multiple charges after prosecutors alleged he stormed the Capitol with a colleague and made an “obscene statement in front of a statue of John Stark “, before later bragging about being” fucking proud “of his actions on Facebook. After his arrest on January 13, Robertson was released pending trial on several conditions, including a ban on possessing firearms or destructive devices.
But in a damning motion calling for Robertson’s bail to be revoked, prosecutors say the military veteran and trained sniper purchased at least 34 guns and thousands of rounds, marking the second time that ‘he violated his preconditions for trial in six months. Apparently knowing his secret arsenal was banned, the motion says he even tried to hide some of his purchases by calling them on Venmo “wedding photos.”
Lawyers for the former cop, however, offered a simple explanation for their client’s alleged violations: The “antique gun lover” apparently had none of the purchased guns in his possession, they said, and the government should have been clearer on their rules.
“Ordering firearms does not equal possession,” said defense lawyer Mark Rollins said on Sunday in a response to prosecutors, noting that since his client did not “ship or transport these items,” the dispute could simply be resolved with a preliminary language update indicating that he is not authorized to order firearms online.
“Mr. Robertson was an antique gun enthusiast, served his country honorably, and the guns he allegedly bought but did not own were antique WWII-era guns,” he added. Rollins in the motion.
“Robertston purchased several guns via email, one of which he paid for through Venmo under the description “Wedding Photos”.“
Prosecutors, however, have offered a detailed account of Roberston’s violations since he and his colleague, Jacob Fracker, stormed the Capitol on January 6. After the siege, Robertston took to Facebook to defend his actions, saying a photo of him and Fracker inside the Capitol shows “2 men ready to step up and stand up for their rights.” In another article, he said he would do everything in his power to disrupt the inauguration of then-president-elect Joe Biden and “fight the motherfuckers who robbed our country.”
After Robertson’s arrest, Judge G. Michael Harvey ordered him to move all of his firearms by January 15 in accordance with the conditions of his release. The motion says that just four days after that deadline, investigators executed a search warrant at Robertton’s home in Ferrum, Va., Where they found at least eight guns. Inside his hangar, Robertston also had “large amounts of ammunition.”
Despite the violation, Harvey gave Robertton a second chance with strict instructions that he could not “own a firearm, destructive device or other dangerous weapon,” the motion reads. In February, however, the FBI received reports that Robertston had again violated his terms, prompting investigators to obtain a search warrant for his email account.
The motion says Robertston purchased several guns via email, including one he paid for through Venmo under the description “Wedding Photos.” On June 29, the FBI raided Robertton’s home for the second time, where they found “an arsenal of 34 firearms … a loaded M4 rifle, ammunition and a partially assembled bomb”. They also found a box labeled “Booby Trap” in an outhouse that contained “a metal pipe with two end caps, with a fuse inserted into a hole that had been drilled in the device; epoxy had been used on the sides. of the fuse to fix it ”, indicates the motion.
In the defense response motion, Rollins said prosecutors failed to note that the box – which did not contain explosive power – was also labeled with the words “ALERRT kit, accessories and trap simulators” and was simply a teaching aid.
This “partially assembled pipe found inside the box is not a destructive device as this device is used to teach law enforcement (security) students as part of the ALERRT course,” Rollins wrote. “Mr. Robertson was a Level II instructor for ALERRT. This hose is not active as it is a training accessory.
Rollins also noted that investigators could not find any of the guns Robertston had purchased. The only gun found at his client’s home was one that belonged to Robertton’s son, who had been “honorably discharged from the United States Army” two days earlier and was a licensed gun owner. Prosecutors say Robertston, however, admitted to purchasing a plethora of firearms that had been shipped to a local authorized dealer – and that he simply had not yet collected them.
“Robertson’s widespread and blatant violations of the terms of his release order, including numerous violations of federal firearms laws, strongly support the revocation of his provisional release in this case. This conduct, coupled with his calls for future violence, shows that no condition or combination of conditions can adequately protect the public from the accused, and warrants immediate court action by issuing an arrest warrant. ”, Argued the prosecutors.
A judge is expected to rule on Robertton’s fate ahead of trial on August 3.