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19 Aug, 2023 01:32

Proud Boys leader facing 33 years in prison

The sentence would mark the stiffest penalty to date for any January 6 defendant
Proud Boys leader facing 33 years in prison

The US Justice Department is seeking 33 years in prison for former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, who was convicted of seditious conspiracy earlier this year in relation to the 2021 riot at the US Capitol.

In a court filing submitted on Thursday, prosecutors requested the lengthy prison term for both Tarrio and co-defendant Joseph Biggs, who was also affiliated with the right-wing group, arguing “They are not heroes; they are criminals.”

“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. The foot soldiers of the right aimed to keep their leader in power. They failed,” the government said, apparently referring to former President Donald Trump.

Previously serving as the Proud Boys’ national chairman, Tarrio was found guilty on a conspiracy charge last May after he was accused of planning efforts to invalidate Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential race. Though he did not attend the Capitol on January 6, 2021, prosecutors deemed Tarrio the “leader of the conspiracy to stop the certification” of the election, claiming he helped to orchestrate the violent unrest in the halls of Congress.

Tarrio’s defense team has argued that the 33-year sentence sought by the government is extreme, and insists there was no coordinated conspiracy to attack the US Capitol, instead suggesting Trump was to blame for inciting his followers to “fight like hell” ahead of the riot on January 6.

Should the prosecutors’ request be granted, Tarrio and Biggs would face the harshest punishment for any Capitol riot defendant to date, including Oath Keepers militia founder Stewart Rhodes, who was handed an 18-year prison bid after a separate conspiracy conviction last year. Alongside Tarrio, prosecutors are also seeking to impose 30-year, 27-year, and 20-year prison terms for three other co-defendants, all alleged to be current or former Proud Boy members involved in the events on January 6.