The US Justice Department is seeking a lengthy prison sentence of 33 years for former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio. Tarrio was convicted of seditious conspiracy earlier this year in relation to the 2021 riot at the US Capitol. Prosecutors argue that Tarrio and his co-defendant, Joseph Biggs, who was also affiliated with the right-wing group, are not heroes but criminals.
In a court filing submitted on Thursday, the government stated that Tarrio and Biggs “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.” It is evident that the government is referencing former President Donald Trump.
Tarrio, who previously served as the Proud Boys’ national chairman, was found guilty on a conspiracy charge last May. He was accused of planning efforts to invalidate Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential race. Although Tarrio did not physically attend the Capitol on January 6, 2021, prosecutors deemed him the “leader of the conspiracy to stop the certification” of the election. They claim he played a role in orchestrating the violent unrest in the halls of Congress.
Tarrio’s defense team argues that the 33-year sentence sought by the government is extreme. They insist that there was no coordinated conspiracy to attack the US Capitol, instead placing the blame on Trump for inciting his followers to “fight like hell” before the riot.
If the prosecutors’ request is granted, Tarrio and Biggs would face the harshest punishment for any Capitol riot defendant to date. Oath Keepers militia founder Stewart Rhodes, who was handed an 18-year prison sentence after a separate conspiracy conviction last year, currently holds this record. Prosecutors are also seeking substantial prison terms for three other co-defendants, who are alleged to be current or former Proud Boy members involved in the events on January 6. The proposed sentences are 30 years, 27 years, and 20 years, respectively.
The outcome of this case is expected to have significant implications for future prosecutions related to the US Capitol riot. The Justice Department’s push for lengthy prison terms reflects its determination to hold individuals accountable for their actions and send a strong message that such acts of violence and attempts to overturn a democratic election will not go unpunished.
As the legal proceedings continue, the public awaits the court’s decision on the requested prison sentences for Tarrio, Biggs, and their co-defendants. The outcome will not only shape the fate of those involved but also carry wider implications for the protection of democracy and the rule of law in the United States.