Proud Boys leader convicted of sedition conspiracy for his role in January 6 attack faces sentencing
Former Proud Boys Chairman Enrique Tarrio and one of his top aides are set to be sentenced on Wednesday after being convicted last May of conspiracy to sedition and several other felonies stemming from their roles in the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Prosecutors are seeking 33 years in prison for Tarrio and 27 years for Ethan Nordin, in what may be the longest sentence yet for individuals charged in connection with the attack.
“The defendants understood the stakes and embraced their role in bringing about the ‘revolution’,” the prosecutors wrote in their letter. Judgment note to US District Judge Timothy Kelly earlier this month. “They unleashed a force in the Capitol that aimed to exert their political will on elected officials by force and to nullify the results of a democratic election. The foot soldiers of the right aimed to keep their leader in power. They failed. They are not heroes, they are criminals.”
The recommendation underscores what prosecutors consider the Proud Boys’ sole role in igniting much of the violence at the Capitol that day, as well as Tarrio’s leadership in the conspiracy by directing the actions of his followers to disrupt congressional certification of the 2020 election — even though he did not He was not in Washington, D.C., at the time of the attack.
The request for 33 years for Tarrio is eight years more than the 25 years prosecutors previously sought for Oath Keepers leader Stuart Rhodes, who was also convicted of conspiracy to sedition and sentenced earlier this year to 18 years in prison – the longest such sentence. Elusive for any accuser on January 6th.
Similar to its approach to oath guards previously convicted of conspiracy to sedition, the government is asking Judge Kelly to apply a so-called “terror reinforcement” at sentencing to lengthen the prison terms each defendant will eventually face – effectively classifying their actions as domestic terrorism.
In the 80-page sentencing note, prosecutors said the far-right group had “deliberately positioned itself for years at the forefront of political violence in this country” by bringing “an army of violence” to communities such as Portland, Oregon; Kalamazoo, Michigan; and Washington, D.C., where they often engaged in violent clashes with left-wing protesters.
“They brought this violence to the Capitol on January 6 in an effort to change the course of American history, and the sentences imposed by this court must reflect the gravity of their crimes,” prosecutors said.
And as they did during most of the trial, which lasted more than four months, prosecutors point out how the group became emboldened and saw its ranks swell after former President Trump mentioned them during a September 2020 presidential debate, telling Proud the boys should “stand up and stand by.” After asking them if he would condemn the group’s actions.
Prosecutors say Tarrio had previously gathered members of the group for protests in D.C. in November and December of 2020, and even posted a photo of himself visiting the White House.
He was arrested in D.C. two days before January 6 on charges of burning a Black Lives Matter flag during one of the previous protests that erupted into violence, as well as possession of two high-capacity magazines of firearms. While he was ordered to stay out of town as a result of these charges, letters shown by prosecutors during the trial showed that he was in close contact with his accomplices while carrying out the attack on the building.
In their sentencing memorandum, plaintiffs cite extensively the group’s calls for force to be used to stop the certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory, their communications via encrypted messaging apps to organize and recruit others, and actions during key moments throughout the riot to help fuel the violence. On the ground.
Prosecutors said: “Such conduct in commanding and instigating an attack like January 6 requires deterrence.” “It is important that this court impose significant prison sentences on all defendants in this case to inform those who mobilize such political violence in the future that their actions will have consequences.”
Three other proud boys, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Riehl and Dominic Pezzola, will be judged separately on Thursday and Friday. The government is seeking 33 years for Biggs, leader of the Florida Proud Boys; 30, Real, president of the group’s Philadelphia branch; and 20 years for Pezzola.
Pezzola was the only defendant found not guilty of conspiracy to sedition after a trial that lasted more than four months, although he was found guilty of other offenses including his actions such as breaking a Capitol window using stolen police riot shield, one of the first crimes. Physical violations of the building that day.
Attorneys for the Proud Boys urged Kelly to impose more lenient sentences — essentially including the time they had already served in remand — arguing that the case against them was overblown and that many of their communications were protected by the First Amendment. political speech
This article originally appeared on abcnews.go.com