The Justice Department is seeking 33 years in prison for Enrique Tarrio, the former leader of the Proud Boys, who was convicted of seditious conspiracy in one of the most serious counts following the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol, according to court documents filed Thursday.
Tarrio, who once served as the far-right group’s national chairman, and three lieutenants were convicted by a Washington jury in May of conspiring to block the presidential transfer of power in hopes of keeping Republican Donald Trump in the White House after him lost the 2020 election.
Prosecutors are also seeking a 33-year sentence for one of Tarrio’s co-defendants, Joseph Biggs of Ormond Beach, Fla., who describes himself as the Proud Boys organizer.
They are asking the judge to hand down a 30-year sentence for Zachary Rehl, who was president of the Proud Boys group in Philadelphia; 27 years in prison for Ethan Nordean of Auburn, Washington, who was a chapter president of the Proud Boys; 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.
Miami resident Tarrio and his co-defendants will be convicted before US District Judge Timothy Kelly in a series of hearings beginning later this month in federal court in Washington.
It’s the same courthouse where Trump this month pleaded not guilty to the case brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith, accusing the Republican of plotting illegally to undermine the will of voters and make up for his defeat by Democrat Joe Biden . Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
Tarrio, who was not involved in the Jan. 6 riots himself, and his three lieutenants were also convicted on two of the same charges Trump faces: obstructing congressional confirmation of Biden’s victory and conspiring to obstruct congress.
The Proud Boys will become the second group of right-wing extremists to be convicted of seditious conspiracy in the January 6 attack. Stewart Rhodes, founder of the Oath Keepers, was sentenced to 18 years in prison in May, along with other members of the anti-government militia group.
However, prosecutors are appealing these sentences, which were lower than those required by the government. Prosecutors had asked US District Judge Amit Mehta to sentence Rhodes to 25 years in prison.
Tarrio was a prime target of what is now the largest Justice Department investigation in American history. He was leading the neo-fascist group known for street fighting with left-wing activists when Trump infamously told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” during his first debate with Biden.
Tarrio was not in Washington on Jan. 6, having been arrested on another case two days earlier and expelled from the capital. However, prosecutors claimed he organized and directed the attack by the Proud Boys, who stormed the Capitol that day.
During the months-long trial, prosecutors argued that the Proud Boys saw themselves as foot soldiers fighting for Trump, while the Republican spread lies that the Democrats stole the election from him and that they were ready to go to war, to keep their favorite leader in power.
Defense attorneys argued there was no conspiracy or plan to attack the Capitol and attempted to portray the Proud Boys as a disorganized drinking club whose members had committed an impromptu act in the riot fueled by Trump’s campaign anger. Tarrio’s lawyers tried to argue that Trump was responsible for blackmailing a crowd outside the White House into “fighting like hell.”