WASHINGTON (AP) – Former Proud Boys national chairman Enrique Tarrio will be sentenced Tuesday a conspiracy to attack the US Capitol in a failed attempt to halt the presidential transfer to power after Donald Trump lost the 2020 election.
Tarrio will be the last Proud Boys leader to be convicted seditious conspiracy In the January 6, 2021 attack to get his punishment. Three fellow Proud Boys convicted by a Washington grand jury on the rarely heard charge of sedition were sentenced last week to between 15 and 18 years in prison.
The Justice Department wants 39-year-old Tarrio to impersonate more than three decades in prisonin which he describes him as the leader of a conspiracy aimed at using violence to destroy the cornerstone of American democracy and undo Democrat Joe Biden’s electoral victory over Republican incumbent Trump.
Tarrio wasn’t in Washington on January 6 — he was arrested two days earlier in a separate case — but prosecutors say he helped start and encourage the violence that stunned the world and disrupted congressional certification Biden’s election victory.
“Tarrio has repeatedly and publicly expressed that he has no regrets about what he made possible on January 6,” prosecutors wrote in court documents.
Tarrio, from Miami, was due to be sentenced in federal court in Washington last week, but his hearing was delayed because US District Judge Timothy Kelly had jurisdiction got sick. Kelly, who was nominated by Trump for the bench, sentenced Tarrio’s co-defendants to lengthy prison terms – albeit far shorter than prosecutors demanded.
Ethan Nordean, who prosecutors said was the leader of the Proud Boys at the scene on January 6, was sentenced to 18 years in prisonthereby tying the record for the longest offense offense penalty. Prosecutors had asked for 27 years in prison for Nordean, who was a Seattle-area chapter president of the Proud Boys.
Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, who was found guilty of seditious conspiracy in a separate case, was sentenced in May 18 years in prison. Prosecutors, who asked for Rhodes’ 25-year sentence, are appealing his sentence and the sentences of other members of his anti-government militia group.
The Proud Boys’ lawyers deny there was any plan to attack the Capitol or to stop the president’s transfer of power.
“There is no evidence that Tarrio ordered any attendees to storm the US Capitol before or during the event,” his attorneys wrote in court filings. “Participating in a plan for the Proud Boys to protest on January 6th is not the same as directing others on the ground to storm the Capitol by any means necessary.”
Police arrested Tarrio on January 4, 2021 in Washington on charges of defacing a Black Lives Matter banner during a previous rally in the nation’s capital. However, police officials later said he was arrested in part over concerns about possible unrest during the certification. He stuck to it a court order to leave town after his arrest.
On January 6, dozens of Proud Boys leaders, members and associates were among the first rioters to breach the Capitol. The mob attack overwhelmed police, forced lawmakers to flee the House and Senate, and disrupted the joint session of Congress to confirm Biden’s victory.
The backbone of the government lawsuit was hundreds of messages exchanged by the Proud Boys in the days leading up to Jan. 6. As the Proud Boys crowded the Capitol, Tarrio cheered them on from afar, writing on social media: “Do what needs to be done.” Later in the day, in an encrypted group chat, someone asked the Proud Boys what they were doing next should. Tarrio replied, “Do it again.”
“Make no mistake,” Tarrio wrote in another message. “We did that.”