Federal prosecutors said a former member of the U.S. Capitol Police was found guilty of hindering an FBI probe into the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, by wiping Facebook communications he exchanged with a rioter following the attack, Reuters reports.
After his trial in federal court for the District of Columbia, a jury found 51-year-old Michael Riley guilty on one count of obstructing the course of justice, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office reported.
On Riley’s second charge of obstructing the course of justice, the jury was tied, according to the prosecution. On that accusation, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled a mistrial.
The maximum sentence for obstruction of justice is 20 years in jail, however, federal sentencing guidelines normally call for shorter sentences.
Riley’s attorney Christopher Macchiaroli argued that Riley “never obstructed any grand jury proceeding, nor did he attempt or intend to do so,” as cited by Reuters.
Riley, according to his attorney, intended to contest the judgment in court and during potential future appeals.
According to the prosecution, Riley was off duty in the Capitol Building on Jan. 6 but was made aware of the activities there. He messaged the man, urging him to remove any posts that may incriminate him after noticing that a Facebook “friend” was involved.
Riley wiped the conversations after discovering that his Facebook friend had spoken to the FBI. Riley had never met face-to-face with the man.
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