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Federal prosecutors recommend 2 months in jail, $500 fine for Maryland man charged with entering Capitol on Jan. 6

A Maryland man who twice entered the Capitol building during the Jan. 6 insurrection could spend two months in jail and be forced to pay a $500 fine, according to a sentencing memorandum filed in U.S. District Court.

Robert Maurice Reeder is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 18. While Reeder did not personally engage in any violent behavior, the court documents state, but his presence at the riot, coupled with his lack of remorse and limited acceptance of responsibility weighed in favor of jail time.

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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. He has pleaded guilty in federal court and is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 18. Prosecutors are seeking two months of jail time.
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. He has pleaded guilty in federal court and is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 18. Prosecutors are seeking two months of jail time. (Courtesy FBI)

On Jan. 6, a mob of supporters of then-president Donald Trump descended on the Capitol building in an attempt to halt certification of the electoral college votes that cemented Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential election victory.

“For the Defendant, these unlawful acts were a source of pride and accomplishment. For the nation, it was a permanent source of shame and sorrow,” the documents state.

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According to a plea agreement dated March 17, Reeder pleaded guilty to one count of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building, and the government will motion for the other charges against him to be dropped at his sentencing hearing. That plea was not formally entered in court until June 23.

The maximum sentence for the charge Reeder pleaded to is six months in jail and a $5,000 fine, according to the plea agreement, but prosecutors recommended he receive two months in jail and a $500 fine.

At his plea hearing, Reeder urged his attorney to point out that “he did not know he was prohibited from breaching the Capitol,” the documents state. Prosecutors said that position was “divorced from reality,” considering the crowd suppression efforts taking place.

“The Defendant would ask the Court to believe that despite being tear gassed and shot with pepper balls, he was simply unaware that entry into the Capitol was prohibited at that time,” according to the documents. ”As pointed out by the Government during Defendant’s change of plea hearing, any one of these facts would have been a hint that entering the Capitol at that time was unlawful.”

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According to the documents, the rioters caused over $1.4 million in damages.

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.

Reeder claimed he was “one of the last people out,” and had been tear gassed, according to the complaint. He also claimed to have walked past a dead woman and filmed an assault on a police officer, according to the document.

The video and photos follow him chanting along with the crowd massed at the Capitol building and entering it twice.

Reeder was identified after the Federal Bureau of Investigation sent out images of those who breached the Capitol. The Harford County State’s Attorney’s office later submitted a tip to the FBI that Reeder had been identified using facial recognition software, according to court documents.

Reeder was arrested Feb. 24 and charged in the District of Columbia’s federal court. He was released, subject to supervision, according to court filings.

Robert C. Bonsib, Reeder’s attorney, said he would file a sentencing memo on Wednesday that will contain his response to the government’s sentencing memo.

At a June plea hearing, Bonsib said that his client got unwittingly caught up in the action. He said Reeder is a registered Democrat, had never attended a political rally and did not support Trump.

In a criminal complaint, federal prosecutors showed several photos of Reeder wearing a red “Make America Great Again” cap and wrote that a video appeared to show Reeder chanting: “Fight for Trump.”

As a result of attending the rally, Reeder has lost his job and has been “alienated by disappointed family members,” his attorney said at the June hearing.

Five died people died during the chaos Jan. 6, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer and Ashli E. Babbitt, a 35-year-old Air Force veteran from San Diego who’d lived in Annapolis and Southern Maryland.

Seven people have been arrested in Maryland for their alleged participation in the storming of the U.S. Capitol, according to the FBI.

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