Enrique Tarrio, the former chairman of the Proud Boys, has been sentenced to 22 years in prison, marking the longest sentence handed down by the Department of Justice in relation to the January 6 Capitol breach.
Tarrio, a Cuban-American, was convicted of seditious conspiracy by a federal court in Washington, D.C., earlier this year. The sentence was delivered by Judge Timothy Kelly.
Although Tarrio was not physically present in Washington, D.C., on the day of the Capitol riot, prosecutors argued that he played a pivotal role as a leader rather than a mere participant. They described him as a charismatic and articulate individual who used his skills to radicalize countless followers. The prosecution’s case relied heavily on private communications from various January 6 defendants, sifting through hundreds of thousands of messages to establish Tarrio’s guilt.
Tarrio pleaded for leniency before his sentencing, stating that his intentions were not to harm anyone or alter the election results. He urged the judge not to rob him of his 40s. However, the court remained unmoved, citing the gravity of the charges against him.
BLM burned down our country for 6 months and most of the protesters had their charges dropped.
Enrique Tarrio was just sentenced to 22 years for Jan 6th and he wasn’t even at the Capitol.
Two tiered justice system. pic.twitter.com/QOPcRuy8SW
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) September 6, 2023
The case against Tarrio was built on the rarely-used seditious conspiracy law, originally enacted post-Civil War to detain Southerners who might continue fighting against the U.S. government. This law has been invoked by the DOJ in about a dozen cases related to the Capitol breach, with varying degrees of success.
During the trial, Tarrio’s defense argued that there was no concrete written evidence to prove that he conspired to halt the certification of the 2020 election. Tarrio also claimed that the government was infringing upon free speech rights, expressing these views in a Twitter spaces event while the trial was ongoing.
Other members of the Proud Boys have also been convicted on similar charges. Joe Biggs received a 17-year sentence, Ethan Nordean got 18 years, and Zachary Rehl was sentenced to 15 years. Additionally, two Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes and Kelly Meggs, were sentenced to 18 and 12 years, respectively.
In total, over 1,100 individuals have been charged in relation to the Capitol breach, with many already serving prison sentences.