Friday, 22 September 2023
WorldFormer Proud Boys leader gets 17 years in prison for Capitol assault

Former Proud Boys leader gets 17 years in prison for Capitol assault

WASHINGTON (AP).— A former organizer of the far-right group Proud Boys was sentenced Thursday to 17 years in prison for leading the assault on the United States Congress to prevent the peaceful transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden after the elections in 2020.

The sentence for Joseph Biggs is the second longest handed down for the assault so far, after the 18-year prison sentence for Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes.

Federal prosecutors recommended a 33-year sentence for Biggs. He and other Proud Boys joined the mob that on January 6, 2021 broke police ranks and forced lawmakers to flee during the joint session of Congress to certify Democrat Biden’s electoral victory.

Biggs acknowledged to the judge that he “messed up that day,” but attributed it to being “seduced by the crowd” of Trump supporters outside the Capitol and said he is not a violent person or “a terrorist.”

The judge who sentenced Biggs will also separately sentence four other Proud Boys convicted by a jury in May.

Enrique Tarrio, top leader of the Proud Boys, is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday.

Tarrio was not in Washington on January 6. He had been arrested two days before the Capitol riot on charges of damaging a Black Lives Matter banner during an earlier demonstration in the nation’s capital, and complied with a judge’s order to leave the city after his arrest. He picked Biggs and Proud Boys chapter president Ethan Nordean to be the group’s on-the-ground leaders in his absence, prosecutors said.

Biggs, of Ormond Beach, Florida, served in the Army for eight years before being medically discharged in 2013. He later worked as a correspondent for Infowars, the website operated by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

Lawyers for the defendants argue that the Justice Department is unfairly holding its clients accountable for the violent actions of others in the crowd of Trump supporters on Capitol Hill.

More than 1,100 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Capitol riot. More than 600 of them have been convicted and sentenced.

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