scorecardAn ex-police officer testified against his former supervisor and mentor — nicknamed 'dad' — at a January 6 trial
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An ex-police officer testified against his former supervisor and mentor — nicknamed 'dad' — at a January 6 trial

C. Ryan Barber   

An ex-police officer testified against his former supervisor and mentor — nicknamed 'dad' — at a January 6 trial
PoliticsPolitics3 min read
  • A former police officer testified as part of a plea deal against his former supervisor and mentor.
  • Jacob Fracker said he was previously always on the "the good guy side, so to speak."

During their time as police officers, they called one another by the nicknames "dad" and "son."

But on Wednesday, former Rocky Mount, Virginia, police officer Jacob Fracker came to a federal courthouse in Washington, DC, to testify against Thomas Robertson, his onetime supervisor and mentor,

Robertson is on trial, facing charges stemming from the pair's alleged participation in the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

"I absolutely hate this," Fracker said Wednesday at the outset of his testimony.

"I've always been on the other side of things … the good guy side, so to speak," he added.

In about two hours of testimony, Fracker recounted advancing into the Capitol with Robertson and identified his onetime colleague in video footage from January 6. That day, the two donned gas masks, and Robertson carried a stick that has become a point of contention at his trial.

Robertson's lawyers have argued that he entered the Capitol only to retrieve Fracker. Prosecutors have accused Robertson of using the wooden stick as a baton to block police guarding the Capitol. But his defense team has said it was a walking stick.

In her questioning, federal prosecutor Risa Berkower sought to undercut those claims from Robertson's team.

Fracker testified that, if Robertson had told him he only went inside the Capitol to retrieve him, "I was unaware of that."

When asked about Robertson's mood after leaving the Capitol, Fracker said it was "about the same as mine: excited ... adrenaline going."

Berkower also sought to show that the stick was not "just for that — for walking," as Robertson's defense lawyer Camille Wagner contended in her opening argument Tuesday.

Asked if Robertson was leaning on the stick, Fracker answered, "It didn't look like it."

Six federal charges

The FBI arrested Fracker and Robertson a week after January 6, 2021, on charges linked to their alleged involvement in the insurrection. Weeks before trial, Fracker pleaded guilty to a charge that he conspired to obstruct the joint session of Congress that gathered on January 6 to certify now-President Joe Biden's electoral victory.

As part of the plea deal, Fracker agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department and testify against Robertson.

Robertson faces six charges, including disorderly conduct and obstruction of an official proceeding. He was charged also with destroying cell phones to impair the criminal investigation into the January 6 attack.

In his testimony Wednesday, Fracker recalled giving his cell phone to Robertson before the two of them turned themselves in at the police station. On his phone were videos and photographs, including a selfie in which Fracker flashed a middle finger.

"I was terrified about the videos and pictures that were on it," Fracker testified.

In the days after January 6, Fracker said he felt proud of his involvement in the Capitol attack.

"I felt like we had maybe been heard by whoever it was we needed to be heard by … maybe have the election results overturned," he testified.

More than a year later and facing prison time, Fracker said Wednesday that he's "afraid of my actions."

"I don't behave like that," he said. "I wasn't raised like that."

Fracker is returning to court Thursday to face cross-examination from Robertson's defense team. At the end of Wednesday's proceedings, Berkower said the Justice Department plans to call two additional witnesses — a police officer and FBI agent — and then rest its case Thursday.

With his testimony, Fracker is hoping to receive credit for his cooperation and a lighter sentence.

On Wednesday, that cooperation meant testifying against a former colleague who called him "son" and whom he called "dad."

"I got most of my knowledge [as a police officer] from him," Fracker said.