Air Force Academy grad convicted in Capitol insurrection, but keeps his pension

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Air Force Academy graduate Larry Brock Jr. will be sentenced for his part in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection in mid-February after a judge found him guilty in November of several crimes.

But the 1989 grad and former Air Force reservist (he retired as a lieutenant colonel in 2014) will continue to collect his pension even if he’s incarcerated, officials say.

Brock, 53 at the time of his arrest in his home state of Texas last year, was charged with six crimes in connection with the insurrection, which disrupted the joint session of the U.S. Congress that had convened to certify Joe Biden’s electoral vote win.

Brock’s charges: entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; impeding ingress and egress in a restricted building or grounds and aiding and abetting; entering and remaining on the floor of Congress; disorderly conduct in a Capitol building; and impeding passage through the Capitol grounds or buildings and aiding and abetting.

On Nov. 16, Judge John Bates found Brock guilty of all six offenses after a three-day bench trial.

While Brock has maintained he just showed up and “found himself at a main entrance to the building,” according to a fundraising site on his behalf, Judge Bates called it “unfathomable that Mr. Brock believed he was authorized” to be in the building, The Washington Post reported following the verdict.

Mr. Brock is still eligible to receive his retirement pay.
— Air Force official

That fundraising site for his legal defense, set up by Larry Brock Sr. and Lynda Davison, had raised $1,580 of a $20,000 goal as of early December. It gave an innocuous explanation for Brock’s involvement, saying that “uniformed police were waving everyone through” and Brock entered the building as a police officer “held the door open.” The site also asserted that Brock could be seen in videos on the Senate floor “being a peacekeeper.”

Brock used a set of keys to try to open the door to the Senate chamber 21 minutes after Vice President Mike Pence was whisked to safety through that very door, The Post reported. His attorney claimed Brock entered the Capitol with “an almost orderly procession” of demonstrators, that he was the victim of “tragic circumstances” and that he wasn’t aware of the violence that occurred.

However, the government’s arrest affidavit contains photos of Brock decked out in a military helmet, gray and black fatigues over a military vest with a military patch and holding zip ties while standing in the Senate chamber.

Two days after the storming of the Capitol, Brock’s ex-wife reported to authorities that she recognized Brock, to whom she had been married for 18 years. “I just know that when I saw this was happening I was afraid he would be there,” she told the FBI, the affidavit says. “It is such a good picture of him and I recognize his patch.”

In addition, John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at The Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, contacted the FBI saying he thought the man in a video of the insurrection was Brock, he told The New Yorker.

“I used a number of techniques to home in on his identity, including facial recognition and image enhancement, as well as seeking contextual clues from his military paraphernalia,” The New Yorker quoted Scott-Railton saying. Among the patches he wore was a yellow fleur de lis, the insignia of the 706th Fighter Squadron, and a vinyl tag of the Texas flag overlaid on the skull logo of Punisher, a Marvel character that the magazine reported “has been adopted by police and Army groups and, more recently, by white supremacists and followers of QAnon.”

The magazine reported Brock served in Afghanistan and in a noncombat role in Iraq; his decorations include three Meritorious Service Medals, six Air Medals and three Aerial Achievement Medals.

It also reported Brock worked for Hillwood Airways, a Texas-based private aviation company, at the time of the insurrection, but the Academy’s Association of Graduates register lists his employment as a pilot with American Airlines.

Larry Brock Jr. at the U.S. Capitol Justice Department Affidavit

Federal Aviation Administration records show he’s no longer a licensed pilot, and the FAA had not responded by the Indy’s press time to its Freedom of Information Act request for his licensing history.

Thus, it’s unclear whether Brock surrendered his license or had it revoked. It’s worth noting that the FAA’s website states that “FAA’s regulations require airline pilots to undergo a medical exam with an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) every six months to five years, depending on the type of flying they do and their age.

As for his pension, Brock can’t be recalled to active duty for the purpose of a court-martial, which could halt his pension if convicted, because, “The double-jeopardy clause in the US Constitution protects the member from a court-martial if already prosecuted in federal court for the same act or omission,” explains Air Force media operations officer Melony Bagwell via email.

In addition, she notes that unlike regular Air Force members, an Air Force Instruction “specifically requires the conduct [at issue] by the retired Air Reserve Command member to have been committed while on active duty or inactive duty for training.” Brock’s retirement date was May 31, 2014.

Moreover, she says, Brock will not forfeit his retirement pay if incarcerated, because federal law dictates which crimes result in loss of pensions.

Those include harboring or concealing persons; gathering, transmitting, or losing defense information; gathering or delivering defense information to aid a foreign government, or disclosure of classified information.

Federal law also allows pensions to be cut off upon conviction for treason, rebellion or insurrection, seditious conspiracy, advocating overthrow of government, activities affecting armed forces generally, activities affecting armed forces during war, recruiting for service against the United States, enlistment to serve against the United States.

But as Bagwell notes, “Mr. Brock was not convicted of any offenses listed in that statute. Mr. Brock is still eligible to receive his retirement pay.” reported in late 2021 that some military personnel who took part in the insurrection were still on active duty.

Others charged in the insurrection who have local ties, and the status of their cases, according to Justice Department records:

• Klete Keller, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in swimming, pleaded guilty on Sept. 29 to “obstructing an official proceeding” as part of his involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Keller was originally facing seven charges, but six of them were dismissed as part of a plea deal. Sentencing is pending.

• Thomas Patrick Hamner of Peyton, was sentenced Sept. 23, 2022, to 30 months in prison after pleading guilty on May 17 to a felony count of interfering with a law enforcement officer. He was indicted on five other charges to which he pleaded not guilty and is awaiting further proceedings. Following his prison term, Hamner will be placed on three years of supervised release. He also must pay $2,000 in restitution.

• Glen Wes Lee Croy of Colorado Springs was charged with disorderly conduct and pleaded guilty in a plea bargain to parading, demonstrating or picketing inside the Capitol. He was sentenced on Nov. 5, 2021, to 90 days of home detention and 14 days in a community correctional facility. He also faces three years of probation and must pay $500 in restitution.

• Robert Gieswein, Divide, faces charges for allegedly assaulting a Capitol police officer during the Jan. 6 riot. An arrest affidavit said Gieswein “assaulted and intimidated U.S. Capitol Police officers with a spray canister, temporary barrier, and baseball bat.” He willfully joined the crowd of people who forcibly entered the Capitol, the affidavit said. He wore a patch on his tactical military-style vest for Woodland Wild Dogs, a private paramilitary training group he runs, according to the affidavit. He pleaded not guilty; the case is pending.

• Lisa Ann Homer, Colorado Springs, was charged with illegally entering the Capitol; disorderly and disruptive conduct on Capitol grounds; and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building. She was sentenced in August to three years’ probation and 60 hours of community service, and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and $500 restitution.

• Jennifer Horvath is charged with illegally entering the Capitol building, disorderly and disruptive conduct, and other offenses on Capitol grounds. She was sentenced Nov. 4, 2022, to 36 months’ probation, including 90 days of home confinement and 14 days at a residential correctional facility. She also was ordered to pay $500 restitution.

• Jacob Travis Clark of Colorado Springs was charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; engaging in physical violence in a restricted building; violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; and other crimes. His case is pending.

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