Former Proud Boys Organizer Sentenced to 17 Years for Capitol Attack

Former Proud Boys Organizer Sentenced to 17 Years for Capitol Attack – On Thursday, a previous leader of the far-right Proud Boys extremist organization received a 17-year prison sentence. This came as a result of leading an assault on the US Capitol, aimed at obstructing the peaceful transition of authority from Donald Trump to Joe Biden following the 2020 presidential election. 

Joseph Biggs, a key figure in the Proud Boys organization, was advised by federal prosecutors to receive a 33-year jail term. He played a leading role in guiding numerous Proud Boys members and affiliates as they marched to the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. Biggs, along with fellow Proud Boys, participated in the crowd that breached police barriers, causing lawmakers to evacuate and interrupting the Congressional session responsible for confirming Biden’s electoral triumph.

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“I know that I messed up that day,” Biggs told the judge just before being sentenced, “but I’m not a terrorist.” The judge overseeing Biggs’ case will also individually sentence four additional members of the Proud Boys who were found guilty by a jury in May, following a four-month trial in Washington. This trial exposed how far-right extremists embraced falsehoods propagated by Trump, asserting that the 2020 election had been unlawfully taken from him.

Enrique Tarrio, the national chairman and prominent leader of the Proud Boys from Miami, was initially set to be sentenced on Wednesday but due to Judge Timothy Kelly’s illness, the sentencing was rescheduled to the following week, specifically on Tuesday. Hailing from Ormond Beach, Florida, Biggs identified himself as an organizer for the Proud Boys. 

He served in the US army for eight years before a medical discharge in 2013. Afterward, he worked as a correspondent for Infowars, a website operated by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Biggs, Tarrio, Nordean, and the Proud Boys’ chapter leader Zachary Rehl were convicted on various charges, including seditious conspiracy—an infrequently prosecuted offense from the Civil War era. 

Another Proud Boys member, Dominic Pezzola, was acquitted of seditious conspiracy but found guilty on other serious charges. Prosecutors put forth recommendations for prison terms as follows: 33 years for Tarrio, 30 years for Rehl, 27 years for Nordean, and 20 years for Pezzola. Rehl’s sentencing is planned for later on Thursday, while Pezzola and Nordean are set to be sentenced on Friday.

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In their defense, attorneys contended that the justice department was unjustly attributing their clients with responsibility for the violent deeds committed by others within the crowd of Trump supporters present at the Capitol. A staggering count of more than 1,100 individuals have faced charges connected to the Capitol riot under federal law. Out of these, over 600 individuals have been both convicted and sentenced.

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