A man who pleaded guilty to entering the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 helped prosecutors in their quest to charge a U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) officer, new court documents show.
Jacob Hiles, a 42-year-old charter boat captain from Virginia, received a message from the officer on Jan. 7, prosecutors said in a filing entered Monday.
The pair continued exchanging Facebook messages over the ensuing months and the officer, Michael Riley, even invited Hiles to stay at his home if he traveled back to the nation’s capital.
After his arrest, Hiles agreed to cooperate with investigators and debriefed them on his interactions with Riley, even though the government promised nothing in return, prosecutors said.
“During the debrief, Hiles answered questions regarding the timing, nature, and channels of communication with Riley. The information provided was valuable in its own right, and assisted the government in scoping its investigation,” they said.
The cooperation played a role in prosecutors recommending no jail time for Hiles, who pleaded guilty to parading, picketing, and demonstrating inside a Capitol building.
Prosecutors have sought, and obtained, jail time for others who pleaded guilty to the charge.
“The nature and the circumstances of the offense support a sentence of incarceration. However, for misdemeanor defendants like Hiles, who engaged in conduct on January 6, 2021, but who have demonstrated remorse and cooperation with the government, including by providing information of significant value to other prosecutions, a sentence short of incarceration remains possible,” prosecutors said.
Riley was charged by a grand jury last month with interfering with the investigation into the Capitol breach.
He has since resigned, Steven Silverman, a lawyer representing him, told The Epoch Times in an email. USCP confirmed in an email that Riley is no longer employed by the agency.
Silverman said Riley “engaged in acts of heroism on January 6, 2021” and said that “the evidence will show that it is not a felony for one person to suggest to another that they take down ill-conceived Facebook posts.”
Messages outlined in court documents show the officer encouraged Hiles to delete posts but Hiles refused.
An attorney representing Hiles said in a filing that Hiles fully cooperated with the FBI on Jan. 19, including surrendering as instructed and consenting to a search of his property and cell phone.
Combined with the assistance with the probe into Riley, Hiles “has provided more cooperation than any previously sentenced defendant,” Alexander Bell, the lawyer, wrote.
Hiles is seeking 12 months of probation and some community service. Prosecutors want three years of probation and 60 hours of community service.