Supporter of the former President Donald TrumpThe attackers used a fire extinguisher to attack police officers during the U.S. Capitol riotJanuary 6, 2016, he informed a judge that his former president and others acting for him were lying when they said that the 2020 presidential election had been stolen.
Robert Scott Palmer, a Florida man who sprayed officers with a fire extinguisher and then chucked the fire extinguisher at the police line when the officers were under siege from the mob (all while he was wearing an American flag sweatshirt bearing Trump’s name), was arrestedHe was charged with the crime in March just twelve days after his arrest. identified in a HuffPost story. He pleaded guiltyIn October, federal prosecutors will be seeking a sentence of more than five years behind barsThis would make it the longest sentence yet connected to the Capitol riot.
U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan was a former Public Defender who sent Jan. 6 defendants more time than Federal prosecutors had requested. worried that some Capitol rioters are getting slaps on the wristPalmer will be sentenced on Friday by the judge. Palmer stated in a written statement to Chutkan that he realizes Trump and his supporters lied to him.
Since the Jan. 6 attack, Palmer claimed, he had come to realize that “Trump supporters were lied to by those that at the time had great power, meaning the then sitting president, as well as those acting on his behalf.”
“They kept spitting out the false narrative about a stolen election and how it was ‘our duty’ to stand up to tyranny,” Palmer wrote. “Little did I realize that they were the tyrannical ones desperate to hold on to power at any cost even by creating the chaos they knew would happen with such rhetoric.” Palmer wrote that he offered his “most sincere and deepest apologies” for believing in Trump’s lies.
Palmer’s words in many ways echo the statements of Danny Rodriguez, the Trump supporter who drove a stun gun into the neck of D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone on Jan. 6. Rodriguez, after being arrested by the FBI, called himself a “fucking piece of shit” for attacking Fanone and “so stupid” for believing he and other Trump supporters would take over the U.S. Capitol and ensure Trump remained president.
“Are we all that stupid that we thought we were going to go do this and save the country and it was all going to be fine after? It was true. That’s so stupid, huh?” Rodriguez said during his interview with the FBI.
Even so, such an unexpected political reverse would not surprise Palmer. Palmer’s Facebook page revealed how much he loved Trump and his lies concerning the massive fraud in the 2020 Presidential election. As HuffPost reported in March, his page was “littered with posts spreading false information about Biden’s election, denigrating the Black Lives Matter movement and downplaying the need for COVID-19 safety protocols.”
After the Capitol attack, Palmer even posted a clip of Bill O’Reilly, who argued that Trump wasn’t responsible for inciting the violent attack on the Capitol that Palmer participated in on Jan. 6. He posted memes about election thefts he believed he had stolen.
“In the event of a Civil War, I’m not afraid of the 81 Million Biden Voters,” he posted on Jan. 12. “Half are dead and don’t exist!”
According to prosecutors, memoTwo months after his guilty plea in October, Palmer had a completely different tone. That’s when he had a friend post a fundraiser calling him “Patriot Rob” and claiming that he only went “on the defense” after he was hit by a less lethal projectile fired by police. (In fact, prosecutors say, Palmer wasn’t shot with a less-lethal round until later, when he approached police “screaming obscenities” and then threw a pole “like a spear” at officers.)
Palmer’s defense attorney called that an “ill-thought-out decision” in his own sentencing memo and conceded that Palmer “did distort the timeline of the events and falsely claimed to have acted in defense during the events at issue,” but had the website removed and refunded the donations after “realizing the idiocy of his decision.”
A number of Palmer’s friends and family members wrote letters on his behalf, and his lawyer is seeking a sentence of 24 months behind bars.
With hundreds more to come, the FBI has already made 700 arrests for Jan. 6, 2001 attack on U.S. Capitol.