WASHINGTON — The Justice Department said Friday a Tampa man should serve 63 months in prison for assaulting police on January 6 in the government’s highest sentencing recommendation to date in a Capitol riot case.
Prosecutors said Robert Scott Palmer, who traveled from Florida to attend former President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally, repeatedly assaulted police attempting to defend the U.S. Capitol Building from a pro-Trump mob by throwing a wooden plank and a fire extinguisher at them.
“Palmer then rooted around for additional materials with which to assault the police, including throwing the fire extinguisher a second time,” the Justice Department wrote in its memo.
Palmer didn’t stop there, they said. Afterward, he spoke to a reporter and admitted his goal was to “subvert a democratic election and that he hoped for military intervention to overturn the election.” He also posted statements on the Internet “falsely claiming that his actions on January 6 were purely defensive.”
During his plea hearing in October, Palmer’s attorney, Bjorn Brunvand, said Palmer “did some things that he shouldn’t have done.”
“He knows he shouldn’t have done them, and those things will forever be part of American history, and he’s part of that,” Brunvard said.
On Friday, the DOJ said Palmer’s role in that history deserved more than 5 years in prison. If U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan agrees, it will be the longest prison sentence handed down yet in a Capitol riot case. Two defendants – “QAnon Shaman” Jacob Chansley and Scott Fairlamb – have been sentenced to more than 40 months in prison. Fairlamb pleaded guilty to two felony counts of obstruction and assaulting police, and Chansley pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction for being the “flagbearer” of the riot. Chansley has since hired attorney John Pierce to represent him in his appeal.
Palmer is scheduled to be sentenced on December 17 at 12:30 p.m. As of Friday afternoon, his attorney had not yet filed his own sentencing memo.
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