The Justice Department on Monday appealed the sentences for five Proud Boys leaders, including leader Enrique Tarrio, who had been hit with the Civil War-era charge of seditious conspiracy in connection to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, arguing the prison times given are significantly shorter than what prosecutors asked for.
U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly sentenced Tarrio, the former Proud Boys national leader, and three lieutenants to prison terms ranging from 15 to 22 years after a jury convicted them in May of plotting to stop the peaceful transfer of presidential power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden after the 2020 presidential election.
Tarrio’s 22-year sentence is the longest so far among hundreds of criminal cases stemming from the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol, but prosecutors had sought 33 years behind bars for the Miami man.
Attorney Nayib Hassan said in an email to the Associated Press that the defense team will review prosecutors’ reasoning for appealing the sentencing but is preparing its own appeal and believes it will “prevail on multiple grounds.”
Prosecutors, who made their court filings on Monday, also had recommended sentences of 33 years for former Proud Boys organizer Joseph Biggs, of Ormond Beach, Florida; 30 years for Proud Boys chapter leader Zachary Rehl, of Philadelphia; and 27 years in prison for chapter leader Ethan Nordean, of Auburn, Washington.
Kelly sentenced Nordean to 18 years, Biggs to 17 years and Rehl to 15 years.
Defense attorney Norm Pattis, who represents Biggs and Rehl, said in a text message that the government’s appeals are “ridiculous.”
“Merrick Garland needs a new hobby horse,” Pattis said.
Nicholas Smith, Nordean’s attorney, said in an email that his client “is encouraged by the government’s agreement that errors led to the judgment and sentence in his case.”
Tarrio’s legal team has asked for a sentence of no more than 15 years without a terror adjustment, but Kelly ultimately did apply the terror enhancement when deciding the Proud Boys’ leader’s punishment as a deterrent – though still have a length of time to serve less than prosecutors had recommended, according to The Hill.
The DOJ notice of appeal Monday did not include any legal arguments in favor of extending the prison terms and only alerted the court to prosecutors’ plan.
Prosecutors also are appealing the 10-year sentence for Dominic Pezzola, a Proud Boys member from Rochester, New York. Prosecutors sought 20 years in prison for Pezzola, who was tried alongside the four group leaders. Jurors acquitted Pezzola of seditious conspiracy but convicted him of other serious charges.
The Justice Department already is appealing the 18-year prison sentence for Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, who was convicted of seditious conspiracy in a separate Jan. 6 case, as well as the sentences of other members of his anti-government militia group.
Prosecutors had requested 25 years in prison for Rhodes. U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta sentenced him to 18 years.
Also Monday, a Proud Boys member who joined others from the far-right group at the Capitol pleaded guilty to obstructing the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress for certifying the victory of Biden over Trump. William Chrestman, 49, of Olathe, Kansas, pleaded guilty to threatening to assault a federal officer during the riot at the Capitol.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Scroll down to leave a comment: