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Largo man sentenced to more than 5 years in prison for role in Capitol riot

It's the toughest sentence delivered to date in a Capitol riot case.

TAMPA, Fla. — The fate of a Largo man who pleaded guilty to assaulting law enforcement during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol has been determined.

Robert Palmer has been sentenced to more than five years behind bars by a federal judge for his role in the riot. It's the toughest sentence delivered to date in a Capitol riot case.

The 54-year-old wept as he told U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan that he recently watched a video of his actions that day and was horrified.  

Ahead of his sentencing, Palmer wrote a letter to the judge saying he realized the errors of his ways while in prison.

In the four-page handwritten apology addressed to Chutkan, Palmer admitted to participating in the riot and came to the conclusion that he was misled by people in power.

"They kept spitting out the false narrative about a stolen election and how it was 'our duty' to stand up to tyranny," Palmer wrote. "Little did I realize that they were the tyrannical ones, desperate to hold onto power at any cost, even by creating the chaos they knew would happen with such rhetoric."

Last week, the Justice Department recommended that Palmer serve 63 months in prison for assaulting police. Palmer's lawyer said he has accepted full responsibility for his actions that day and was hoping federal prosecutors would consider a lesser sentencing recommendation. 

"Mr. Palmer realizes in retrospect that his actions hurt the nation," Brunvand writes. "At the time of his actions, he believed that he was acting in the country's best interests. As distorted as his mindset was at that time, his heart was set on doing what he believed was right."

Prosecutors said Robert Scott Palmer, who traveled from Florida to attend former President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally, repeatedly assaulted police attempting to defend the U.S. Capitol Building from a pro-Trump mob by throwing a wooden plank and a fire extinguisher at them. 

“Palmer then rooted around for additional materials with which to assault the police, including throwing the fire extinguisher a second time,” the Justice Department wrote in its memo.

Palmer didn’t stop there, they said. Afterward, he spoke to a reporter and admitted his goal was to “subvert a democratic election and that he hoped for military intervention to overturn the election.” He also posted statements on the Internet “falsely claiming that his actions on January 6 were purely defensive.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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