The Justice Department is seeking 33 years in prison for Enrique Tarrio, the former Proud Boys leader convicted of seditious conspiracy in one of the most serious cases to emerge from attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to court documents.
The sentence, if imposed, would be by far the longest punishment that has been handed down in the massive prosecution of the riot on Jan. 6, 2021. Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, who was convicted of seditious conspiracy in a separate case, has received the longest sentence to date — 18 years.
Tarrio, who once served as national chairman of the far-right extremist group, and three lieutenants were convicted by a Washington jury in May of conspiring to block the transfer of presidential power in the hopes of keeping Donald Trump in the White House after the Republican president lost the 2020 election.
Tarrio, who was not at the Capitol riot itself, was a top target of what has become the largest Justice Department investigation in American history. He led the neo-fascist group — known for street fights with left-wing activists — when Trump infamously told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” during his first debate with Democrat Joe Biden.
During the monthslong trial, prosecutors argued that the Proud Boys viewed themselves as foot soldiers fighting for Trump as the Republican spread lies that Democrats stole the election from him, and were prepared to go to war to keep their preferred leader in power.
“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,” prosecutors wrote in their filing Thursday. “The foot soldiers of the right aimed to keep their leader in power. They failed. They are not heroes; they are criminals.”
Prosecutors are also asking for a 33-year-sentence for one of Tarrio’s co-defendants, Joseph Biggs of Ormond Beach, Florida, a self-described Proud Boys organizer.
They are asking the judge to impose a 30-year prison term for Zachary Rehl, who was president of the Proud Boys chapter in Philadelphia; 27 years in prison for Ethan Nordean of Auburn, Washington, who was a Proud Boys chapter president; and 20 years for Dominic Pezzola, a Proud Boys member from Rochester, New York. Pezzola was acquitted of seditious conspiracy but convicted of other serious charges.