Disgraced cop uses glowing letter from Capitol security to contest obstruction charges — but he got it by mistake: report
Capitol Rioters (Screengrab)

On Friday, POLITICO reported that disgraced Capitol Police officer Michael Riley, charged with obstruction of the investigation of the January 6 Capitol insurrection, is defending himself, in part, with a letter issued to him praising his "professionalism."

"In a lengthy court filing, Riley — who retired in December, just weeks after he was charged — appended a letter of congratulations from top Capitol security officials. The letter, signed by Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger, as well as the House and Senate sergeants-at-arms and the architect of the Capitol, hailed Riley for a 25-year career of 'honor and distinction,'" reported Kyle Cheney. 'Through your years of service with the United States Capitol Police, you have consistently demonstrated the leadership and integrity which are absolutely essential in law enforcement excellence,' the security leaders wrote in the Dec. 2 letter. 'Your attention to duty, professionalism and dedication are above reproach.'"

However, it turns out that the laudatory letter was issued to Riley by mistake.

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"The Capitol Police said, in an unsigned statement to POLITICO, that the letter lauding Riley was a mistake," said the report. "'The letter with that particular language, and pre-printed signatures, went out in error. We are looking at ways to ensure only officers who leave in good standing receive such a letter.'"

Riley's charges stem from allegations that he told a participant in the Capitol attack to delete incriminating evidence of his participation from Facebook. Attorneys for Riley contend that his behavior doesn't amount to criminal obstruction, and that he is being selectively prosecuted and would not be facing charges for this same conduct if he were not a member of the Capitol Police.