WASHINGTON (AP) — A former organizer of the far-right Proud Boys extremist group was sentenced on Thursday to 17 years in jail for spearheading an assault on the U.S. Capitol to stop the peaceable switch of energy from Donald Trump to Joe Biden after the 2020 presidential election.
The sentence for Joseph Biggs is the second longest amongst tons of of Capitol riot circumstances to this point, after the 18-year jail sentence for Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes.
Federal prosecutors had beneficial a 33-year jail sentence for Biggs, who helped lead dozens of Proud Boys members and associates in marching to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Biggs and different Proud Boys joined the mob that broke via police traces and compelled lawmakers to flee, disrupting the joint session of Congress for certifying the electoral victory by Biden, a Democrat.
“I do know that I tousled that day,” Biggs instructed the decide simply earlier than being sentenced, “however I’m not a terrorist.”
The decide who sentenced Biggs additionally will individually sentence 4 different Proud Boys who have been convicted by a jury in Could after a four-month trial in Washington, D.C., that laid naked far-right extremists’ embrace of lies by Trump, a Republican, that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
Enrique Tarrio, a Miami resident who was the Proud Boys’ nationwide chairman and high chief, is scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday. His sentencing was moved from Wednesday to subsequent week as a result of U.S. District Decide Timothy Kelly was sick.
Tarrio wasn’t in Washington on Jan. 6. He had been arrested two days earlier than the Capitol riot on costs that he defaced a Black Lives Matter banner throughout an earlier rally within the nation’s capital, and he complied with a decide’s order to go away town after his arrest. He picked Biggs and Proud Boys chapter president Ethan Nordean to be the group’s leaders on the bottom in his absence, prosecutors mentioned.
Biggs, of Ormond Seashore, Florida, was a self-described Proud Boys organizer. He served within the U.S. Military for eight years earlier than getting medically discharged in 2013. Biggs later labored as a correspondent for Infowars, the web site operated by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
Biggs, Tarrio, Nordean and Proud Boys chapter chief Zachary Rehl have been convicted of costs together with seditious conspiracy, a not often introduced Civil Struggle-era offense. A fifth Proud Boys member, Dominic Pezzola, was acquitted of seditious conspiracy however was convicted of different severe costs.
Prosecutors additionally beneficial jail sentences of 33 years for Tarrio, 30 years for Rehl, 27 years for Nordean and 20 years for Pezzola. The decide is scheduled to condemn Rehl in a while Thursday. Pezzola and Nordean are scheduled to be sentenced on Friday.
Protection attorneys argued that the Justice Division was unfairly holding their purchasers answerable for the violent actions of others within the crowd of Trump supporters on the Capitol.
Greater than 1,100 individuals have been charged with Capitol riot-related federal crimes. Over 600 of them have been convicted and sentenced.
In addition to Rhodes, six members of the anti-government Oath Keepers additionally have been convicted of seditious conspiracy after a separate trial final 12 months.