Former Proud Boys member Joe Biggs sentenced to 17 years in prison

August 31, 2023

Former Proud Boys member Joe Biggs was sentenced to 17 years in prison for his role in the deadly January 6, 2021 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol.

The Department of Justice on August 17 requested a 33-year prison sentence for Biggs. 

He, along with former Proud Boys Chair Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, and fellow members of the far-right extremist group, Ethan Nordean and Zachary Rehl, were convicted  of seditious conspiracy in May after a months-long trial began in January. 

The DOJ has also requested a 33-year sentence for Tarrio, as well as 30 years for Rehl and 27 years for Nordean.

Prosecutors are further requesting a 20-year sentence for another former Proud Boys member, Dominic Pezzola, who was not found guilty of seditious conspiracy but was convicted of other serious crimes. 

Tarrio and Nordean were scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday, but the judge had to postpone their hearings after calling out sick.

A jury had convicted 39-year-old Biggs on six criminal counts, including seditious conspiracy, back in May.

In a sentencing memorandum submitted earlier this month, DOJ prosecutors wrote, “Perhaps more than any other defendant, Biggs promoted the use of force against the government” because in the days immediately following President Biden’s 2020 election victory, “Biggs declared that the country could face ‘civil war’ because the ‘left’ was ‘radicalizing people by stealing the election.”

During his sentencing hearing, Biggs reportedly broke into tears and pleaded to U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly that he wanted to be present for his child.

“I know that I messed up that day, but I’m not a terrorist,” Biggs said. “I beg you.”

But Kelly had already noted earlier in Thursday’s hearing that Biggs’ tearing down of a fence that stood between police and rioters qualified him for a terrorism sentencing enhancement sought by prosecutors. Destroying the fence was a “deliberate, meaningful step” that contributed to the disruption of the electoral college vote count occurring in the Capitol, the judge said.

Seditious conspiracy is defined as attempting to “overthrow, put down or to destroy by force the government of the United States.” It had been rarely prosecuted before January 6.

At least 1,125 people have been charged related to the deadly January 6 assault. 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.

Read more exclusive news from Political IQ.

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