US Capitol Attack Provocateurs A federal judge on Thursday sentenced former far-right Proud Boys leader Joseph Biggs and co-defendant Zachary Rehl to 15 years in prison, after a jury convicted them of sedition conspiracy for storming the US Capitol in a failed attempt to reverse the defeat of Donald Trump. in the 2020 election.
The prison terms handel down by US District Judge Timothy Kelly for Biggs and Rehl, the first Proud Boys convicted of agitating conspiracy to be sentenced for their roles in the January 6, 2021 attacks, were under US sentencing guidelines and far less than a 33-year term. and the 30 years requested by federal prosecutors.
Kelly said on Thursday, August 31, 2023, that he was not “trying to minimize the violence” that occurred on January 6, but he noted that it was still not on par with mass casualty events and imposing harsher penalties could create disparities.
On the eve of his sentencing, Biggs apologizes for his actions when confronting Kelly, choking on talking about his daughter who he thinks is a sexual assault victim who need him while she was lock up.
“I was persuad by the crowd, and I kept going.
Rehl, meanwhile, sobbed as she read the statement, while her attorney stood beside her with his hand on Rehl’s back.He also apologized for disappointing his family and asked if Kelly could send him to a federal prison near his home.
Prosecutors tallied their recommendation for Rehl, based in part on evidence that he committed perjury when he defended himself during the trial and lied about attacking police with chemical spray.
“You did spray the officer and you lied about it,” Kelly told him, adding that it was an “ugly fact.”
The Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol was intend to stop Congress from certifying Democratic President Joe Biden’s election, which Trump claimed was the result of widespread fraud.
“This is a very serious crime,” federal prosecutor Jason McCullough said Thursday. “There is a reason why we will be holding our collective breath ahead of the next election. … They are pushing this to the brink of a constitutional crisis.”
Trump is far ahead in the Republican nomination race to challenge Biden in 2024.
In one debate during the 2020 presidential campaign, Trump famously told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” when he was ask by the moderator to denounce white supremacy.
Two other Proud Boys – Ethan Nordean and Dominic Pezzola – will face sentencing before Kelly on Friday, while the group’s former leader Enrique Tarrio will be sentence on September 5.
Prosecutors are seeking a 33-year prison sentence for Tarrio and a 27-year sentence for Nordean, both of whom were also convict of seditious conspiracy.
They asked for a 20-year sentence for Pezzola, who was acquitte of seditious conspiracy charges, but convicted of other serious crimes.