A Virginia man who stormed the U.S. Capitol whereas sporting an antisemitic “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt over a Nazi-themed shirt was sentenced on Thursday to 75 days of imprisonment.
Robert Keith Packer, 57, declined to handle U.S. District Decide Carl Nichols earlier than he sentenced him throughout listening to held by video convention. The decide famous the “extremely offensive” message on Packer’s sweatshirt earlier than imposing the sentence.
“It appears to me that he wore that sweatshirt for a cause. We do not know what the rationale was as a result of Mr. Packer hasn’t instructed us,” Nichols stated.
Pictures of Packer sporting the sweatshirt went viral after the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol. When FBI brokers requested him why he wore it, he “fatuously” replied, “As a result of I used to be chilly,” a federal prosecutor stated in a court docket submitting.
Packer’s sweatshirt depicted a picture of a human cranium above the phrases “Camp Auschwitz.” The phrase “Employees” was on the again. It additionally bore the phrase “Work Brings Freedom,” a tough translation of the German phrases above the doorway gate to Auschwitz, the focus camp in occupied Poland the place Nazis killed greater than 1 million males, girls and youngsters.
Assistant U.S. Lawyer Mona Furst stated she realized on Wednesday that Packer additionally wore an “SS” T-shirt — a reference to the Nazi Celebration paramilitary group based by Adolf Hitler — underneath his sweatshirt on Jan. 6. Packer “attacked the very authorities that gave him the liberty to precise these beliefs, irrespective of how abhorrent or evil they might be” when he joined the mob supporting then-President Donald Trump, the prosecutor stated
Packer “needed to assist the subversion of our republic and hold a dictatorial ruler in place by pressure and violence,” Furst instructed the decide.
Defence lawyer Stephen Brennwald acknowledged that Packer’s apparel was “significantly offensive” however argued that it should not be a sentencing issue as a result of he has a free speech proper to put on it.
“It is simply terrible that he wore that shirt that day. I simply do not suppose it is applicable to provide him further time due to that as a result of he is allowed to put on it,” he stated.
Brennwald added that Packer was offended and offended to be labeled a white supremacist “as a result of he does not see himself that approach in any respect.” The defence lawyer stated Packer needed him to sue Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi for linking him to white supremacy throughout a press convention a number of days after the riot.
Packer declined to talk throughout Thursday’s listening to as a result of he did not need his phrases “splashed on the market” on social media his lawyer instructed the decide.
Packer, a resident of Newport Information, Virginia, pleaded responsible in January to a misdemeanor rely of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol constructing, which carries a most sentence of six months of imprisonment.
Packer instructed the FBI that he was about 10 to 12 toes away from a rioter, Ashli Babbitt, when a police officer fatally shot her as she tried to climb by the damaged window of a barricaded door resulting in the Speaker’s Foyer.
“He instructed the brokers he heard the shot and noticed her fall again from the window she was attempting to climb by,” Furst wrote in a court docket submitting.
Furst stated Packer did not categorical any regret throughout his FBI interview.
“He was extra occupied with relaying how he acquired hate mail and the way he was ‘hounded’ by the media for interviews,” she added.
Packer’s youthful sister, Kimberly Rice, wrote a letter asking the decide for leniency. She stated her brother’s sweatshirt “might be thought of in poor style” however added that “freedom of expression” is not against the law.
Prosecutors had really helpful a sentence of 75 days of incarceration adopted by 36 months of probation. Brennwald sought a probationary sentence with no jail time.
FBI brokers arrested Packer every week after the riot. He has remained free whereas awaiting sentencing.
Packer is a self-employed pipe fitter. Prosecutors say he has a prolonged prison document, with roughly 21 convictions, largely for drunken driving and different motorcar violations.
Greater than 870 folks have been charged with federal crimes for his or her conduct on Jan. 6. Roughly 400 of them have pleaded responsible, largely to misdemeanor offenses. Over 250 riot defendants have been sentenced, with roughly half getting phrases of imprisonment starting from seven days to 10 years.