Ex-Proud Boys Leader Sentenced to 40 Months in Prison for Capitol Riot Plot

Ex-Proud Boys Leader Sentenced to 40 Months in Prison for Capitol Riot Plot – On Tuesday, a previous leader of the far-right Proud Boys extremist group received a sentence of over three years in prison. Charles Donohoe, the second Proud Boy to admit guilt, was involved in a plot to obstruct the joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021, certifying President Joe Biden’s electoral win. 

His sentencing may set a precedent for other cooperating Proud Boys facing legal consequences. Donohoe, 35, of Kernersville, North Carolina, apologized to his family, the law-enforcement officers who guarded the Capitol on Jan. 6, and “America as a whole” for his actions on Jan. 6. “I knew what I was doing was illegal from the very moment those barricades got knocked down,” he said.

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Judge Timothy Kelly handed down a three-year and four-month prison sentence to Donohoe. Due to credit for time served since his March 2021 arrest, he might be eligible for release in a month or two. The judge noted that Donohoe appears committed to making amends for his crimes. “I think you’ve got all the ingredients here to put this behind you,” Kelly said.

Donohoe served as the president of a North Carolina chapter within the Proud Boys. He held the position of lieutenant under the former national chairman, Enrique Tarrio, who received a 22-year prison sentence – the lengthiest term in a Capitol riot case thus far. In May, Tarrio and three other former Proud Boys leaders were found guilty by a jury on charges of seditious conspiracy for plotting to disrupt the peaceful transfer of presidential power from Donald Trump to Biden.

Donohoe, who had pleaded guilty in April 2020 to conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding and assaulting police, cooperated with federal authorities. Despite this, he was not called to testify at the trial of Tarrio and other Proud Boys earlier this year. Prosecutors suggested a prison term of 35 to 43 months for Donohoe, while sentencing guidelines recommended a range of 70 to 87 months.

“Donohoe and his co-conspirators organized and led a small army as they launched an attack on the heart of our democracy. They took these actions because they did not like the outcome of the election,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing. Matthew Greene, a Proud Boys member from New York, was the initial one to admit guilt to conspiracy. The date for Greene’s sentencing hearing is yet to be scheduled

Donohoe acted as the “eyes and ears of the group on the ground” in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, Justice Department prosecutor Jason McCullough told the judge. However, prosecutors contended that Donohoe should be acknowledged for promptly admitting responsibility and collaborating with the investigation. On January 6, Donohoe joined more than 100 Proud Boys members in marching to the Capitol. 

Although he did not enter the Capitol, he threw two water bottles at officers dealing with the mob outside the building. Donohoe, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served two deployments in Iraq, has “eagerly divorced himself” from the Proud Boys, said defense attorney Ira Knight. “It took Charlie time to understand the nature of his wrong,” Knight said.

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Federal charges related to the Capitol riot have been brought against more than 1,200 individuals. Around 900 have either pleaded guilty or received convictions through trials, with over 700 already sentenced. A recently unsealed case revealed charges against Barbara Balmaseda, a Florida political activist, for storming the Capitol on January 6 with a Proud Boys member. 

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Balmaseda, 23, from Miami Lakes, faces charges such as obstruction of justice and disorderly conduct; she was arrested last Thursday in her hometown. In 2021, a Fox News journalist identified her as the director-at-large of Miami Young Republicans. Her attorney, Nayib Hassan, claims the case against Balmaseda is politically motivated and asserted that her arrest was a “waste of law enforcement resources.”

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