Justice Department demands 33 years in prison for former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio in January 6 case
The Department of Justice is seeking a 33-year prison sentence for Enrique Tarrio, former leader of the Proud Boys. He was found guilty of conspiracy to sedition In one of the most serious cases that emerged on January 6, 2021, Attack on the US Capitolaccording to court documents filed Thursday.
If the verdict is issued, it will be by far the longest sentence handed down in the January 6 mass trial. Oath Keepers founder Stuart Rhodes, who was convicted of sedition conspiracy in a separate case, has been given the longest sentence yet – 18 years.
Tarrio, who previously served as the national president of the far-right extremist group, and three aides were convicted by a Washington jury in May of conspiring to obstruct a transfer of presidential power in hopes of keeping Republican Donald Trump in the White House after him. He lost the 2020 election.
Tarrio, who was not involved in the Capitol riot himself, was a major target of what became the largest Justice Department investigation in American history. He led the neo-fascist group — known for its street battles with left-wing activists — when Trump told the Proud Boys that “Get back and stop” During his first debate with Democrat Joe Biden.
During the months-long trial, prosecutors argued that the Proud Boys They saw themselves as the foot soldiers fighting for Trump The Republican also spread lies that the Democrats stole the election from him, and were willing to go to war to keep their preferred leader in power.
“They unleashed force in the Capitol that was intended to exercise their political will on elected officials by force and undo the results of a democratic election,” prosecutors wrote in their filing. “The right-wing foot soldiers aimed to keep their leader in power. They failed. They are not heroes. They are criminals.”
Prosecutors are also asking for one of Tario’s co-defendants, Joseph Biggs of Ormond Beach, Fla., who described himself as a Proud Boys organizer, to 33 years in prison.
They are asking the judge to impose a 30-year prison sentence on Zachary Riehl, who was the head of the Philadelphia chapter of the Proud Boys. 27 years in prison for Ethan Nordan of Auburn, Washington, who was the head of the Proud Boys chapter; and 20 by Dominic Pezzola, a Proud Boys member from Rochester, New York. Pezzola was acquitted of sedition conspiracy but was found guilty of other serious charges.
Tarrio was not in Washington on Jan. 6, because he had been arrested two days earlier in a separate case and ordered out of D.C. But prosecutors alleged that he organized and directed the attack by the Proud Boys who stormed the Capitol that day.
Defense attorneys argued there was no plot nor plan to attack the Capitol, and sought to paint the Proud boys as a disorderly drinking club whose members’ participation in the riot was a spontaneous act fueled by electoral anger for Trump. Tarrio’s lawyers have tried to argue that Trump was responsible for urging the crowd outside the White House to ” Fight like hell. “
Attorneys for The Proud Boys say the sentences proposed by plaintiffs are extreme. Noting that the January 6 mayhem had been fueled by Trump’s false election claims, Biggs and Reel’s attorney told the judge that “the Commander-in-Chief’s endorsement and heeding his call should result in some measure of mitigation.”
The accused are not terrorists. “Whatever excesses of zeal they displayed on January 6, 2021, and no matter how serious the potential interference with the orderly transfer of power caused by the events of that day, a decade or more behind bars is an excessive punishment,” wrote attorney Norm Bates.
As in the case of Rhodes and the other Oath Keepers, prosecutors are urging the judge to apply a so-called “promotion of terror”—which could result in a longer prison sentence—arguing that the Proud Boys sought to influence the government through “intimidation or coercion.”
U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta agreed with plaintiffs that the oath-keepers’ crimes could be punished as “terrorism,” but nevertheless sentenced Rhodes and the others to prison terms shorter than prosecutors were looking for. Prosecutors had asked Mehta to sentence Rhodes to 25 years behind bars.
Tarrio, of Miami, and his co-defendants will be sentenced before US District Judge Timothy Kelly in a series of hearings beginning later this month in Washington federal court.
It’s the same court where Trump is Not guilty This month in the case brought by special counsel Jack Smith accusing the Republican of illegally plotting to subvert the will of voters and overturn his loss to Biden. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
Tarrio and three aides were also convicted of two of the same charges Trump faces: obstructing Congressional certification of a Biden victory, and conspiracy to obstruct Congress.
Richer reported from Boston.
This article originally appeared on apnews.com