Robert Palmer apologized for acting upon a “false narrative about a stolen election” when he attacked police officers with a fire extinguisher during at the Capitol on Jan. 6. It didn’t save him from getting slapped with a a 63-month prison sentence on Friday, the longest to date among those who have been charged as a result of the riot.
Palmer said in court that he was “really, really ashamed of what I did,” and promised to “never, ever, ever” attend another political rally. He won’t for another five years and change, at least.
Arrested and charged shortly after his identity was revealed in a HuffPost story in March, Palmer pleaded guilty in October. His lawyer sought a sentence of 24 months behind bars. Unfortunately for Palmer, his case came before U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, a former public defender who has voiced concerns that some Capitol rioters were getting off too easy.
“There have to be consequences for participating in an attempted violent overthrow of the government beyond sitting at home,” Chutkan said back in October while sentencing another Jan. 6 defendant to 45 days in prison even though federal prosecutors had requested three months of home confinement.
If there was a glimmer of hope that Palmer’s sentence would be on the lighter side, it was dashed when it came to light that Palmer wrote on his fundraising website that he had merely acted in self-defense. This conflicted with his comments about taking responsibility for his actions after pleading guilty, Judge Chutkan noted.
Palmer is among the more than 700 defendants who have been charged as a result of the Capitol riot. The longest prison term before Friday’s sentencing had been 41 months, a punishment shared by Scott Fairlamb, who assaulted a police officer, and Jacob Chansley, the so-called QAnon Shaman. The FBI is still searching for more than 350 individuals accused of crimes that day.