The Justice Department is seeking 33 years in prison for Enrique Tarrio, the former leader of the Proud Boys who was convicted of seditious conspiracy in one of the most serious cases arising from the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol in the US, according to court documents filed. Thursday.
Tarrio, who once served as the national chairman of the far-right extremist group, and three lieutenants were convicted by a Washington jury in May of conspiring to block the transfer of presidential power in hopes of retaining Republican Donald Trump. in the White House after he lost in the 2020 election.
Prosecutors also sought a 33-year sentence for one of Tarrio’s co-defendants, Joseph Biggs of Ormond Beach, Florida, a self-described Proud Boys organizer.
They asked the judge to impose 30 years in prison for Zachary Rehl, who is president of the Proud Boys chapter in Philadelphia; 27 years in prison for Ethan Nordean of Auburn, Washington, who was president of the Proud Boys chapter; and 20 years for Dominic Pezzola, a member of the Proud Boys from Rochester, New York. Pezzola was acquitted of seditious conspiracy but convicted of other serious charges.
Tarrio, of Miami, and his co-defendants will be sentenced before US District Judge Timothy Kelly in a series of hearings beginning later this month in federal court in Washington.
It’s the same courthouse where Trump pleaded not guilty this month in a case brought by special counsel Jack Smith that accused the Republican of illegally conspiring to destroy the will of those voter and reverse his loss to Democrat Joe Biden. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
Tarrio, who was absent in Jan. 6 riot itself, and his three lieutenants were also convicted of two of the same charges that Trump is facing: obstruction of Congressional certification of Biden’s victory, and conspiracy to obstruct Congress.
The Proud Boys are the second group of far-right extremists to be sentenced on seditious conspiracy convictions in the January 6 attack. Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes was sentenced in May to 18 years in prison, and other members of the antigovernment militia group also received long prison terms.
Prosecutors, however, appealed the sentences, which were lower than what the government had sought. Prosecutors asked US District Judge Amit Mehta to sentence Rhodes to 25 years in prison.
Tarrio is the primary target of what has become the largest Justice Department investigation in American history. He led the neo-fascist group – known for street fights with left-wing activists – when Trump told the Proud Boys to “stand up and stand up” in his first debate with Biden.
Tarrio was not in Washington on January 6, because he was arrested two days earlier in a different case and ordered out of the capital. But the prosecutors alleged that he was the one who organized and ordered the attack of the Proud Boys that invaded the Capitol that day.
During the month-long trial, prosecutors argued that the Proud Boys saw themselves as soldiers fighting for Trump while the Republican spread lies that the Democrats stole the election from him, and ready to go to war to keep their chosen leader in power.
Defense attorneys argued that there was no conspiracy and no plan to attack the Capitol, and sought to portray the Proud Boys as a disorganized drinking club whose membership in the riot was a powerful act fueled by anger at Trump’s election. Tarrio’s lawyers tried to argue that Trump was to blame for extorting a crowd outside the White House to “fight like hell.”