In connection with the Capitol demonstration on January 6, 2021, five members of the Proud Boys group were given jail sentences ranging from 10 to 22 years. The Department of Justice under the Biden administration is requesting even lengthier terms for these individuals.
This week, officials from the DOJ filed a motion to appeal for the sentence of Enrique Tarrio, who used to be the leader, and Joseph Biggs, Ethan Nordean, Zachary Rehl, and Dominic Pezzola, who were members.
It was first proposed that Tarrio be jailed for 33 years, Nordean for 27, Rehl for 30, Biggs for 33, and Pezzola for 20.
They were each found guilty of seditious conspiracy in May and given sentences by District Judge Tim Kelly, who was chosen by former President Trump. Tarrio got 22 years in prison, Rehl got 15, Nordean got 18, and Biggs got 17. Pezzola was given a 10-year prison term after being found not guilty of seditious conspiracy but guilty of other felonies.
The defense lawyer for Biggs and Rehl, Norm Pattis, told the Associated Press that the DOJ’s appeal was “ridiculous.”
Pattis said, “Merrick Garland should get a new hobby horse.”
In August, Pattis said that the sentence was too harsh.
“The defendants aren’t terrorists,” he said for clarity. “No matter what excesses of zeal they displayed on January 6, 2021, and regardless of how serious the possible interference with the smooth transition of power caused by the events of that particular day, a decade or longer behind bars represents excessive punishment.”
Nicholas Smith, Nordean’s lawyer, said that his client was “encouraged by the government’s admission that mistakes led to the verdict and sentencing in his case.”
“They launched an assault on the U.S. Capitol that was intended to exert their own political will on those elected by force in order to undo the outcome of a democratic election,” DOJ investigators have said about the Proud Boys members in court documents in the past. “The right’s foot soldiers wanted to continue having their leader in charge. They didn’t succeed. They’re not heroes; they’re bad guys.”
The DOJ has already filed a motion to appeal for Stewart Rhodes, the founder and leader of Oath Keepers, who was found guilty of seditious conspiracy in a different case on January 6. The government wanted to put Rhodes in jail for 25 years, but he was only given 18 years.
Over 1,100 people were arrested and charged with federal offenses in connection with the demonstration that took place at the Capitol on January 6, 2021. This is the biggest investigation the DOJ has ever done in U.S. history.