Robert Scott Palmer, a Florida man who attacked cops with a fire extinguisher during the Capitol riot on Jan. 6 and was identified by online sleuths, pleaded guilty to a felony on Monday and was ordered incarcerated until sentencing.
Palmer ― who was wearing a “Florida For Trump” hat and an American flag sweatshirt emblazoned with Donald Trump’s name on Jan. 6 ― pleaded guilty to count three of his indictment, a felony charge of assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers using a dangerous weapon, inflicting bodily injury. Palmer was arrested in March, 12 days after HuffPost named him in a story.
Online sleuths working under the moniker #SeditionHunters identified Palmer as the man who used a fire extinguisher to assault officers in a tunnel on the western side of the Capitol. Dozens and dozens of other Capitol rioters have been positively identified by online sleuths but have not yet been arrested by the FBI.
Palmer entered his guilty plea before Judge Tanya Chutkan, who earlier in the morning had expressed concern about letting Jan. 6 defendants off with a “slap on the wrist” and sentenced a misdemeanor Capitol attack defendant to 45 days of incarceration. Federal prosecutors had sought three months of home detention in that misdemeanor case, while the defendant’s defense attorney sought probation.
Palmer admitted before Chutkan that he threw a wooden plank at officers during the riot, that he sprayed the fire extinguisher at officers defending the Capitol, and that he chucked the fire extinguisher at the police line.
“He surrendered and turned himself in shortly after your story,” Palmer’s attorney, Bjorn Brunvand, told HuffPost when Palmer indicated he planned to plead guilty. “We reached out to the FBI, and he turned himself in as soon as they were ready for him to. ... Consistent with what we’ve been doing since day one, he wants to accept responsibility for what he did.”
Chutkan ordered Palmer be detained until sentencing. Brunvand said Palmer had sold his assets to prepare for the possibility that he would be locked up until trial. The attorney also said that Palmer’s sentencing guidelines would range between 46 and 57 months in prison.
The FBI has made more than 600 arrests in connection with the attack on the Capitol, and hundreds of others are still wanted by the bureau. Federal authorities have referred to the Capitol investigation as the largest in FBI history, and the caseload will go well into 2023.