Ex-Capitol Police officer convicted of covering up efforts to help Jan. 6 rioter avoid prosecution

Michael Riley was found guilty on one count of obstruction of justice.

October 28, 2022, 6:55 PM

A federal jury Friday returned a guilty verdict on one count of obstruction of justice against a former Capitol Police officer charged with aiding a rioter who participated in the Jan.6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Michael Riley, a 26-year veteran of the Capitol Police, was charged last year after he allegedly encouraged a participant in the attack to delete social media posts that showed the person joining the pro-Trump mob storming the Capitol.

Investigators said Riley reached out to the rioter, Jacob Hiles, over Facebook on Jan. 7, and encouraged him to delete posts that showed him inside the Capitol the day before.

"I'm a capitol police officer who agrees with your political stance," Riley's message said. "Take down the part about being in the building, they are currently investigating and everyone who was in the building is going to be charged. Just looking out!"

Tear gas is fired at supporters of President Trump who stormed the United States Capitol building in Washington, Jan. 6, 2021.
The Washington Post via Getty Images, FILE

Riley was found guilty on one count of obstruction related to his attempts to cover up his messages with Hiles after news reports surfaced of Hiles' arrest.

The jury failed to reach a verdict on a second count related to Riley’s communication with Hiles on Jan. 7.

He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

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