Roberto Minuta, a member of the far-right extremist group the Oath Keepers, was sentenced Thursday to 4.5 years (54 months) in prison for his role in the deadly January 6, 2021 insurrection upon the U.S. Capitol.
Minuta was found guilty of seditious conspiracy on January 23, along with fellow Oath Keepers Edward Vallejo, Joseph Hackett and David Moerschel.
Vallejo was also set to be sentenced on Thursday.
U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta, who presided over the seditious conspiracy sentencing of Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and the head of the group’s Florida chapter, Kelly Meggs, also presided over the sentencing of Minuta, and was presiding over Vallejo’s as well.
Federal prosecutors had sought a 17-year-prison sentence for Minuta (as well as for Vallejo), who provided a security detail to Trump ally Roger Stone on the day of the attack. He entered the Capitol with other Oath Keepers and prosecutors said he pushed past police officers while screaming obscenities.
Judge Mehta had sentenced Rhodes to 18 years and Meggs to 12 for their roles in the violent mob’s attempt to stop Congress in its Constitutional duty to certify President Biden’s 2020 electoral college victory over then-President Trump.
Prosecutors had asserted during Minuta’s sentencing hearing that he has failed to accept responsibility and has “continued to spread lies and sow distrust in the [January 6] criminal investigation” by referring to himself and other defendants as “political prisoners.”
Minuta’s attorney called the prosecution’s sentencing recommendation a “farce,” and asked for a lighter sentenced based on what he asserted was thin evidence against his client.
During sentencing, Mehta said to Minuta, “This isn’t about your politics, this isn’t about your beliefs, it’s about your conduct.”
Until recently, “seditious conspiracy” had rarely been prosecuted. However, in October the former leader of another right-wing extremist group, the Proud Boys, Jeremy Bertino, pleaded guilty to the crime for his connections to the January 6 insurrection.
On May 4, former Proud Boys Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, Ethan Nordean, Zachary Rehl, Carmen Hernandez and Joe Biggs were also found guilty of seditious conspiracy related to January 6.
According to the Justice Department, more than 1,033 suspects have been arrested in nearly all 50 states and the District of Columbia related to the assault on the U.S. Capitol. A reported more than 500 of them have been sentenced, with more than half receiving prison terms ranging from a week to over 14 years.
Four people died during the insurrection, and five police officers died of various causes following the attack.