Enrique Tarrio, the former leader of the Proud Boys, was given a 22-year prison term on Tuesday for planning the assault on the United States by his far-right extremist group.
After Donald Trump lost the 2020 election, the Capitol made an unsuccessful attempt to halt the transfer of presidential power. Tarrio’s sentence, which surpasses the 18-year sentences that Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and former Proud Boys leader Ethan Nordean both received after juries found them guilty of seditious conspiracy and other charges, is the longest so far among the more than 1,100 Capitol riot cases.
It happens as the Justice Department gears up to put Trump on trial at the same Washington courthouse on allegations that the former president engaged in illegal plotting to hold onto power that he was aware had been revoked by voters.
The Tarrio case, along with countless others like it, serve as a stark reminder of the tumultuous chaos that was stoked by Trump’s falsehoods prior to the election, as well as the extent to which those lies encouraged right-wing extremists to storm the Capitol and obstruct the peaceful transfer of presidential power.
Tarrio stood to address the court before the verdict was announced.
He begged for mercy, calling the events of January 6 a “national embarrassment,” and he expressed regret to the law enforcement personnel who defended the Capitol and the lawmakers who fled in terror.
He apologized for disappointing his family and vowed to leave politics behind as his voice broke.
Tarrio was charged with leading a plot to use violence to undermine the foundation of American democracy and overturn Joe Biden’s election victory over Republican incumbent Donald Trump.
Prosecutors had asked for 33 years in prison for Tarrio. For as long as this case is remembered, prosecutor Conor Mulroe said,
“We need to make sure the consequences are abundantly clear to anyone who might be unhappy with the results of 2024, 2028, 2032, or any future election.
This was an intentional act of terrorism.
Tarrio wasn’t in the nation’s capital when members of the Proud Boys joined thousands of Trump supporters who broke windows, assaulted police, and flooded the House and Senate chambers as lawmakers gathered to certify Biden’s victory.
However, according to the prosecution, the 39-year-old Miami resident planned and oversaw the Proud Boys’ assault from a distance while enticing followers with his charisma and love of propaganda.
Accusations that Tarrio vandalized a Black Lives Matter banner during an earlier rally in the nation’s capital led to his arrest two days prior to the Capitol riot, and he complied with the judge’s order to leave the city after his arrest.
The U.S. Trump nominee for the bench, District Judge Timothy Kelly, concurred with the prosecution that the Proud Boys’ crimes could be punished as “terrorism,” increasing the suggested sentence under federal guidelines.
But in the end, he gave the Proud Boys prison terms that were less severe than what the prosecution had requested.