Prosecutors Want Longer Sentences for Proud Boys Leaders

Justice Department is appealing sentences of 5 members, including Enrique Tarrio
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 17, 2023 7:46 AM CDT
Prosecutors Want Longer Sentences for Proud Boys Leaders
Insurrectionists loyal to President Trump breach the Capitol in Washington, Jan. 6, 2021.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

The Justice Department is appealing the length of prison sentences for four Proud Boys leaders convicted of seditious conspiracy in the US Capitol attack and one convicted of lesser charges, challenging punishments that were significantly shorter than what prosecutors had recommended, the AP reports, citing court filings. US District Judge Timothy Kelly sentenced former Proud Boys national leader Enrique Tarrio and three lieutenants to prison terms ranging from 15 to 22 years after a jury convicted them in May of plotting to stop the peaceful transfer of presidential power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden. Tarrio's 22-year sentence is the longest so far among hundreds of criminal cases stemming from the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, but prosecutors had sought 33 years behind bars for the Miami man.

Attorney Nayib Hassan said in an email that the defense team will review prosecutors' reasoning for appealing the sentencing but is preparing its own appeal and believes it will "prevail on multiple grounds." Prosecutors also had recommended sentences of 33 years for former Proud Boys organizer Joseph Biggs; 30 years for Proud Boys chapter leader Zachary Rehl; and 27 years in prison for chapter leader Ethan Nordean. Kelly sentenced Nordean to 18 years, Biggs to 17 years and Rehl to 15 years. Defense attorney Norm Pattis, who represents Biggs and Rehl, said the government's appeals are "ridiculous." Nicholas Smith, Nordean's attorney, said his client "is encouraged by the government's agreement that errors led to the judgment and sentence in his case."

Prosecutors also are appealing the 10-year sentence for Proud Boys member Dominic Pezzola. Prosecutors sought 20 years in prison for Pezzola, who was tried alongside the four group leaders. Jurors acquitted Pezzola of seditious conspiracy but convicted him of other serious charges. The Justice Department already is appealing the 18-year prison sentence for Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, who was convicted of seditious conspiracy in a separate Jan. 6 case, as well as the sentences of other members of his anti-government militia group. Prosecutors had requested 25 years in prison for Rhodes. William Chrestman, 49, another Proud Boys member who joined others in attacking the Capitol, pleaded guilty to obstructing the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress on Monday. (More Justice Department stories.)

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