The Biden administration’s Justice Department is calling for even longer prison sentences for five Proud Boys members who were sentenced to 10 to 22 years in prison in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, protests at the Capitol.
On Monday, DOJ prosecutors filed an appeal against the convictions of former chairman Enrique Tarrio and members Zachary Rehl, Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs and Dominic Pezzola.
Prosecutors initially wanted to put Tarrio behind bars for 33 years, Rehl for 30, Nordean for 27, Biggs for 33 and Pezzola for 20 years.
After they were convicted of seditious conspiracy in May, District Judge Tim Kelly, appointed by former President Donald Trump, appointed them sentenced Tarrio to 22 years, Rehl to 15, Nordean to 18 and Biggs to 17 years. Pezzola, who was acquitted of seditious conspiracy but convicted of other crimes, was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Norm Pattis, defense attorney for Biggs and Rehl, called the DOJ’s appeal “ridiculous.” Associated Press reported.
“Merrick Garland needs a new hobbyhorse,” Pattis explained.
In August, Pattis called the sentencing excessive.
“The defendants are not terrorists,” he said. “Whatever excessive zeal they displayed on January 6, 2021, and no matter how serious the potential disruption to the orderly transfer of power resulting from the events of that day, a decade or more behind bars is an excessive punishment.”
Nordean’s attorney, Nicholas Smith, said his client was “encouraged by the government’s acceptance that errors led to the verdict and conviction in his case.”
“They unleashed on the Capitol a force designed to exercise their political will through violence against elected officials and overturn the results of a democratic election,” DOJ prosecutors previously said of the Proud Boys members in court filings. “The foot soldiers of the right wanted to keep their leader in power. You have failed. They’re not heroes, they’re criminals.”
The Justice Department has already appealed the conviction of Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, who was convicted of seditious conspiracy in a separate case on January 6. Prosecutors asked for 25 years in prison, but Rhodes was sentenced to 18 years.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reported that Patty Hartman, supervisory public affairs specialist at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, stated that the DOJ was “just preserving our right to appeal.”
More than 1,100 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the January 6, 2021 protests at the Capitol, the largest DOJ investigation in American history.
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