Online threats continue to date in Capitol Riots investigation

A man who pleaded guilty to posting threats on social media in connection with the riot on the U.S. Capitol was sentenced Thursday to 14 months in prison, the longest sentence to date resulting from the federal inquiry into the insurrection.

Troy smocks from Dallas visited the nation’s capital ahead of the Jan.6 siege, but he was not charged with storming the building to support false claims that President Donald Trump was re-elected.

Smocks has been in prison since his arrest on January 15. One of the few blacks among the more than 600 defendants indicted so far, Smocks argued his treatment was unfair to others who have entered Capitol Hill.

“I’m not Dr King, but we share the same skin color and the same idea of ​​justice. I just want to be treated on an equal footing, ”he said on his conviction.

But United States District Judge Tanya Chutkan said she had not seen a “spark of evidence” that the prosecution was motivated by racism and noted that Smocks expressed little remorse.

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“People have died fighting for civil rights,” she said. “For you to present yourself as a soldier in this fight is very daring. ”

The sentence exceeded what prosecutors asked for – the time he has already served in prison, during which he tested positive for COVID-19.

On January 6, Smocks issued threats to “stalk these cowards,” targeting “RINOS, Dems and Tech Execs” – words that have been seen tens of thousands of times on the Talking social network. “RINO” stands for “Republican in name only.”

Smocks has a two-decade criminal record and prosecutors said he bought a plane ticket to leave the country shortly before his arrest.

His social media accounts indicated he had been a colonel, but authorities found no evidence of military service. Prosecutors have found evidence that he had long passed himself off as a veteran and had a history of fraud convictions from the 1980s to 2006, though he has stayed away from legal issues for the past two years. decades.

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Smocks’ sentence was the longest since an eight-month term awarded in July to a Florida crane operator who breached the Senate chamber while carrying a Trump campaign flag.

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