A Proud Boys leader who led the far-right organization’s infamous march to the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, has been sentenced to 17 years in prison, one of the longest sentences yet handed down for a convicted rioter, according to CNN.
Joe Biggs was convicted by a Washington, DC jury of several crimes, including seditious conspiracy, for attempting to forcibly prevent the peaceful transfer of power from then-President Donald Trump to Joe Biden after the 2020 election.
A second member of the Proud Boys, Former Marine Zachary Rehl, president of the organization’s local chapter in Philadelphia, was later sentenced to 15 years.
These are some of the longest sentences in Capitol assault cases. The record is the 18-year sentence imposed on Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, also convicted of seditious conspiracy, after prosecutors sought 25 years in federal prison in his case.
“Our Constitution and our laws give you so many important rights that Americans have fought and died for and that you yourself put on a uniform to defend,” District Judge Timothy Kelly said in sentencing Biggs. “People around the world would give anything for these rights.”
But January 6, 2021, Kelly said, “broke our tradition of the peaceful transfer of power” in the United States.
“The nature of the constitutional moment we found ourselves in that day is something so sensitive that it deserves a significant sentence,” Judge Kelly said.
NBC News reported that Kelly ruled earlier in Thursday’s hearing that Biggs’ tearing down a fence separating police and rioters qualified him for a terrorism sentencing enhancement requested by prosecutors. Destroying the fence was a “deliberate and significant step” that contributed to the disruption of the electoral vote count that occurred at the Capitol, Kelly said.
Biggs was convicted in May of seditious conspiracy, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to use force, intimidation or threats to prevent U.S. officials from carrying out their duties; interference with law enforcement during civil unrest and destruction of government property.
Biggs went to trial alongside Enrique Tarrio, Ethan Nordean, Zachary Rehl and Dominic Pezzola. All five were convicted of serious crimes and all, except Pezzola, were convicted of seditious conspiracy. The other Proud Boys will also be sentenced in the coming days: Rehl on Thursday afternoon, Pezzola and Nordean on Friday and Tarrio on Tuesday.
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Source: La Opinion