A Florida man who attacked police officers with a wooden plank and a fire extinguisher during the Capitol incursion could be facing the longest sentence yet among those who flooded the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Robert Scott Palmer, 54, of Largo, pleaded guilty in October to assault charges, the Department of Justice noted in a news release.
Prosecutors want U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan to sentence Palmer to 63 months in prison. To date, the longest sentences handed down to participants in the Capitol incursion were for 41 months, which went to “QAnon Shaman” Jacob Chansley and to Scott Fairlamb, according to WUSA-TV.
The Department of Justice has called for the stiff sentence because on the day, Palmer’s actions were meant to cause “serious bodily injury.”
In an effort to head off the 63-month sentence, Palmer sent Chutkan a handwritten apology blaming former President Donald Trump for his actions.
Capitol rioter Robert Scott Palmer has pleaded guilty, apologizes to judge for falling for a “false narrative about a stolen election”. pic.twitter.com/RCNPl1julp
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) December 14, 2021
During the commotion that followed the protests on Jan. 6, Palmer threw a wooden plank at officers. He later sprayed the full contents of a fire extinguisher at officers, according to the DOJ news release.
He was in the act of going after a group of police with a pole when police responded with a rubber bullet that hit Palmer in the stomach.
At the court hearing where he pleaded guilty, Palmer sobbed onto the shoulder of defense attorney Bjorn Brunvand, according to WUSA-TV.
“That was Mr. Palmer being remorseful for what he did on January 6th,” Brunvand said later. “And also, afraid of what’s to come.”
“Unfortunately, he did some things that he shouldn’t have done,” Brunvand said. “He knows he shouldn’t have done them, and those things will forever be part of the American history and he’s part of that.”
“Since then I realize that we meaning 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,” he wrote, according to HuffPost, which provided images of the letter.
“They kept spitting out the false narrative about a stolen election and how it was ‘our duty’ to stand up to tyranny,” he 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. For listening to them your honor let me offer please and I can only hope and pray it is accepted by this honorable court my most sincere and deepest apologies,” he wrote.
Palmer directed his first apology “to the brave men and women of the D.C. police force, Capitol police force and the National Guard, and any other law enforcement agency who stood protecting the Capitol from the angry mob, and no one should question that it indeed was a mob.”
The Justice Department, in its memo calling for a 63-month sentence, said Palmer’s “repeated violent assaults on law enforcement for the purpose of overturning a democratic election warrant a significant term of imprisonment.”
“Moreover, after his guilty plea, Palmer posted a public statement on the Internet falsely claiming that his actions on January 6 were purely defensive, and falsely claiming that his assaults on law enforcement were a reaction to — rather than the cause of — him being tear gassed and shot with a non-lethal projectile. Palmer’s post-plea falsehoods demonstrate a lack of remorse and are inconsistent with an acceptance of responsibility,” the DOJ memo read.
The memo said that in a post seeking money, “Palmer falsely asserts that he threw the fire extinguisher at the police as a reaction to having been shot by them. But Palmer’s assault with the fire extinguisher occurred well before he was shot. More importantly, Palmer’s conduct was not ‘defensive’ — nothing provoked his attacks on law enforcement other than his own anger.”
“Palmer has not simply confused the sequence of events. Palmer’s fundraising post is just the latest in a series of lies Palmer has told to portray himself as a victim, rather than an aggressor, on January 6.
“That he continued telling these lies, even after pleading guilty, in order to persuade people to donate money to him reflects poorly on his character and is inconsistent with an acceptance of responsibility,” the memo read.
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