A former organizer of the far-right Proud Boys extremist group, Joseph Biggs, has been sentenced to 17 years in prison for his role in spearheading the attack on the U.S. Capitol. This attack aimed to prevent the peaceful transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden after the 2020 presidential election.
Biggs, who helped lead dozens of Proud Boys members and associates, joined the mob that broke through police lines and forced lawmakers to flee on January 6, 2021. This disrupted the joint session of Congress for certifying Biden’s electoral victory.
U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly, in passing the sentence, emphasized the importance of peacefully transferring power as an essential American custom. He stated that the events of January 6 trampled on this tradition.
Biggs admitted his mistake in court but attributed his actions to being “seduced by the crowd” of Trump supporters outside the Capitol. He asserted that he is not a violent person or a terrorist.
Federal prosecutors had recommended a 33-year prison sentence for Biggs, justifying it as one of the most serious crimes considered by the court. They argued that their decision was necessary to prevent constitutional crises in future elections.
The judge acknowledged the significance of January 6 and its impact on the electoral process. He used the past tense to describe the event and expressed concern for future elections, urging individuals to reflect on the consequences of their actions.
The sentencing of Joseph Biggs comes as one of the longest among the Capitol riot cases so far, second only to the 18-year prison sentence for Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes. The severity of these sentences sends a strong message about the consequences of attempting to undermine democracy through violence.
As the nation moves forward, it is crucial to remember the importance of upholding democratic values and working together towards a peaceful and inclusive future. The events of January 6 serve as a powerful reminder of the fragility of our democracy and the need to protect it at all costs.
The sentencing of Proud Boys members involved in the Capitol riot has shed light on the dangerous propagation of lies by former President Donald Trump and the alarming influence of far-right extremists. The judge, who previously sentenced one member, will now proceed to sentence four additional Proud Boys convicted in a four-month trial held in Washington, D.C.
Tarrio’s Sentencing Postponed
Enrique Tarrio, the national chairman and top leader of the Proud Boys residing in Miami, was scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday. However, due to the judge falling ill, his sentencing was rescheduled to the following week. It is worth noting that Tarrio was not present in Washington on January 6th. He had been arrested two days prior to the Capitol riot for defacing a Black Lives Matter banner during a previous demonstration in the nation’s capital. Tarrio followed a judge’s order and left the city post-arrest, designating Joseph Biggs and Ethan Nordean as the leaders representing the Proud Boys during his absence.
Joseph Biggs: A Self-Described Proud Boys Organizer
Joseph Biggs, hailing from Ormond Beach, Florida, played a key role as an organizer within the Proud Boys. Prior to this, he served in the U.S. Army for eight years before receiving a medical discharge in 2013. Biggs later found work as a correspondent for Infowars, the website operated by renowned conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
Convictions and Recommended Sentences
Aside from Biggs, three others – Tarrio, Nordean, and Proud Boys chapter leader Zachary Rehl – were also convicted of various charges, including the rarely prosecuted Civil War-era offense of seditious conspiracy. Dominic Pezzola, another Proud Boys member, was acquitted of seditious conspiracy but found guilty of other serious charges.
Prosecutors have recommended substantial prison sentences for the convicted members: 33 years for Tarrio, 30 years for Rehl, 27 years for Nordean, and 20 years for Pezzola. The judge is set to sentence Rehl later on Thursday, while Pezzola and Nordean await sentencing on Friday.
Defense Arguments and Extent of Prosecutions
Defense attorneys have argued that their clients are being unfairly held accountable for the violent actions committed by others within the Trump supporters’ crowd at the Capitol. It is worth noting that more than 1,100 individuals have been charged with federal crimes related to the Capitol riot, with over 600 having already been convicted and sentenced.
Among the convicted individuals are six members of the anti-government Oath Keepers along with Stuart Rhodes, who were separately convicted of seditious conspiracy after a trial held last year.
This ongoing process of convicting and sentencing those responsible for the Capitol riot serves as a stark reminder of the consequences faced by individuals involved in such acts of violence and insurrection. The legal proceedings also highlight the disturbing influence of extremists who perpetuated falsehoods regarding the 2020 election outcome.