The Biden administration’s Department of Justice is seeking even longer prison sentences for five Proud Boys members who received 10 to 22 years in relation to the January 6, 2021, protest at the Capitol.
On Monday, DOJ prosecutors filed a notice of appeal for the sentencing of former leader Enrique Tarrio and members Zachary Rehl, Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, and Dominic Pezzola.
Prosecutors initially sought to put Tarrio behind bars for 33 years, Rehl for 30, Nordean for 27, Biggs for 33, and Pezzola for 20.
After they were convicted in May of seditious conspiracy, District Judge Tim Kelly, appointed by former President Donald Trump, sentenced Tarrio to 22 years, Rehl to 15, Nordean to 18, and Biggs to 17. Pezzola, who was acquitted of seditious conspiracy but convicted on other felony charges, was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Norm Pattis, defense attorney for Biggs and Rehl, called the DOJ’s appeal “ridiculous,” the Associated Press reported.
“Merrick Garland needs a new hobby horse,” Pattis stated.
In August, Pattis called the sentencing excessive.
“The defendants are not terrorists,” he explained. “Whatever excesses of zeal they demonstrated on January 6, 2021, and no matter how grave the potential interference with the orderly transfer of power due to the events of that day, a decade or more behind bars is an excessive punishment.”
Nordean’s attorney, Nicholas Smith, stated that his client “is encouraged by the government’s agreement that errors led to the judgment and sentence in his case.”
“They unleashed a force on the Capitol that was calculated to exert their political will on elected officials by force and to undo the results of a democratic election,” DOJ prosecutors previously stated in court filings regarding the Proud Boys members. “The foot soldiers of the right aimed to keep their leader in power. They failed. They are not heroes; they are criminals.”
The DOJ already filed an appeal for the sentencing of Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, who was convicted of seditious conspiracy in a separate January 6 case. Prosecutors sought 25 years behind bars, but Rhodes was sentenced to 18.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reported that Patty Hartman, supervisory public affairs specialist for the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, stated that the DOJ is “merely preserving our right to appeal.”
More than 1,100 individuals have been charged with federal crimes related to the January 6, 2021, protest at the Capitol, the largest investigation conducted by the DOJ in American history.
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