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Sentencing for Capitol rioter delayed after video showing him fight police comes to light hours before hearing

After accusing a Capitol rioter from Maryland of presenting a “self-serving rewrite of history” to make himself look better, prosecutors asked to delay sentencing for Robert Maurice Reeder when an apparent video of him shoving a police officer during the Jan. 6 riots came to light just hours before his hearing Wednesday.

Several tweets Wednesday morning by “Sedition Hunters,” a group dedicated to tracking down and identifying participants in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, appears to show Reeder, 55, shove a police officer — video at odds with the account he gave the government.

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The initial tweet showed a still image of a man wearing a black and blue jacket and red hat matching what Reeder was photographed wearing Jan. 6 in other photos and videos filed as evidence in the case. A pair of videos tweeted by the account appear to show the same person striking a police officer.

Reeder’s sentencing has been postponed until Oct. 8. According to a plea agreement dated March 17, Reeder pleaded guilty to one count of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.

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Spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia Bill Miller said that the office does not reconstruct what was said in court as a matter of policy but confirmed that the government had requested a continuance and it had been granted.

Around Jan. 7, the Harford County State’s Attorney’s office submitted a tip to the FBI that facial recognition software had identified two Maryland residents as possible matches to photos released by the federal agency following the storming of the Capitol, according to the complaint. One of those individuals was identified as Reeder.

Reeder contacted the government through his attorney around Jan. 19, according to court documents, and provided a nearly 22-minute compilation of photos and videos he took on his cellphone during the riot, the documents state.

Maryland resident Robert Maurice Reeder, shown in a photo released by the FBI, is charged with participating in the deadly riots at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Maryland resident Robert Maurice Reeder, shown in a photo released by the FBI, is charged with participating in the deadly riots at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Courtesy FBI)

In the defense’s sentencing memorandum, Reeder claimed he was a registered Democrat who did not support former president Donald Trump. According to the documents, he attended the rally because he had nothing better to do and intended to visit several monuments when he heard that people were going to the Capitol. The documents further state that he did not know he was not allowed to enter the Capitol.

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Reeder’s attorney Robert Bonsib argued that his client was “publicly grouped with many others who [sic] views he abhors” in the memorandum, though acknowledging Reeder liked “the patriotic spirit that he believed that President Trump was trying to instill in Americans.”

Bonsib did not respond to a request for comment for this article by 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

Documents in the case state that Reeder twice entered the Capitol building. He recorded rioters fighting with police and bragged that he had been one of the last ones out of the building. In many of the photos, he is seen wearing a signature “Make America Great Again” hat and chanting with the crowd.

The government’s sentencing memorandum from early August called for two months in jail and a $500 fine, but the plea agreement preserved the government’s right to prosecute Reeder for crimes of violence he could have committed before or after its signing. Reeder’s claim that he did not know entry to the Capitol was restricted was “divorced from reality,” the prosecution said in the document.

The statutory maximum sentence on the charge Reeder pleaded guilty to is six months, according to the plea agreement.

“The Defendant’s sentencing memorandum attempts to paint a picture of the Defendant as a lost tourist, in awe of the Capitol, defending it from destruction and documenting the events of the day,” prosecutors wrote. “To believe the Defendant’s version of events one needs to suspend reality, ignore facts, and omit evidence.”

In a response to the defense’s memorandum in aid of sentencing, prosecutors also pointed out that Reeder did not show any contrition for his actions and only came forward because a neighbor told him the FBI had been outside his house. He also claimed that there was a conspiracy to allow rioters into the Capitol and close the doors behind them to “demonize the Trump people,” documents state.

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