Edward Vallejo, a member of the far-right extremist group the Oath Keepers, was sentenced Thursday to three years (36 months) in prison for his role in the deadly January 6, 2021 insurrection upon the U.S. Capitol.
Vallejo was found guilty of seditious conspiracy on January 23, along with fellow Oath Keepers Roberto Minuta, Joseph Hackett and David Moerschel.
Earlier Thursday Minuta was sentenced to 4.5 years (54) months.
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 Vallejo and Minuta.
At Valleho’s sentencing Mehta said, “If you believe in democracy, you take the good with the bad. You take the results you don’t like. You can’t conspire to undo a result or prevent the result from happening because you and a group of cohorts believed that process failed you. It can’t happen.”
Federal prosecutors had sought a 17-year-prison sentence for Vallejo (as well as for Minuta), who was not at the Capitol on January 6 but rather stayed at a hotel in suburban Virginia where Oath Keepers had stashed firearms to stage a “quick reaction force” if needed.
Judge Mehta had sentenced Rhodes to 18 years and Meggs to 12 years 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.
Vallejo’s attorney requested that his client receive no more prison time beyond what he has already served. He also sought to shift blame to Trump, who repeated false claims of voter fraud and in his speech earlier in the day had used charged language exhorting to crowd to “fight like hell.”
At sentencing Vallejo reportedly begged Mehta for home incarceration through tears, saying, “I would rather be incarcerated at home for the rest of my natural life than spend a year or even a month in prison as a burden to [my wife] and my family.”
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.