Ex-Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio jailed for 22 years in longest January 6 sentence yet
His mother also pleaded with the judge, saying: “I respectfully ask your honour to see beyond the politics, beyond the media.”
Yet prosecutors, who had asked for a sentence of 33 years, claimed Tarrio had not shown any remorse in the months since the incident and the judge appeared to agree with them.
However, while he said the Proud Boys’ offences could be punished as “terrorism”, he did not impose the longest sentence available to him.
While Tarrio was not present on January 6, prosecutors said he organised things from afar, revealing to the court hundreds of messages exchanged by Proud Boys in the days leading up to the storming of the US Capitol by supporters of then president Donald Trump
In one message on social media, Tarrrio wrote: “Do what must be done.”
“Make no mistake,” he wrote in another message. “We did this.”
Tarrio’s sentence is the longest so far among more than 1,100 Capitol riot cases.
It topped the 18-year sentences that Oath Keepers’ founder Stewart Rhodes and one-time Proud Boys leader Ethan Nordean both received after juries convicted them of seditious conspiracy and other charges.
His case was the fifth of five former Proud Boys – the group promotes right wing extremism – to be dealt with.
In addition to the 18 years given to Nordean, Kelly sentenced Joseph Biggs to 17 years, Zachary Rehl, a local Proud Boys chapter leader to 15 years, and Dominic Pezzola, a low-level member, to 10 years.
Tarrio, from Miami, was found guilty of seditious conspiracy and obstructing official proceedings by a federal court last May
“Enrique Tarrio was the leader of this conspiracy,” prosecutor Conor Mulroe told the court.
One of Tarrio’s lawyers, Sabino Jauregui, said: “This is not some foreign national waging war against the government. My client thought he was saving this country, saving this republic.”
The case against Tarrio comes as the US Department of Justice is pressing ahead with the prosecution of Mr Trump in the same courthouse, on charges that he illegally worked to hold on to power even though he knew he had lost the election to Joe Biden and that it was not rigged, as he claimed.
He has pleaded not guilty to that charge and three other indictments.
Mr Trump remains the clear frontrunner in the contest to select a presidential candidate to take on Mr Biden next year.
He has vowed he will not halt his campaign, even if convicted or even sent to jail