Former Proud Boys member Zachary Rehl sentenced to 15 years in prison

August 31, 2023

Former Proud Boys member Zachary Rehl was sentenced to 15 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 30-year sentence for Rehl.

Rehl was the leader of the Philadelphia chapter of the right-wing extremist group. Along with former Proud Boys Chair Henry “Enrique” Tarrio and fellow members Joe Biggs and Ethan Nordean, he was convicted  of seditious conspiracy in May after a months-long trial began in January. 

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly sentenced Biggs to 17 years in prison despite the DOJ asking for a 33-year sentence for his crimes.

The DOJ has also requested a 33-year sentence for Tarrio and 27 years for Nordean. The pair were scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday, but Judge Kelly had to postpone their hearings after calling out sick.

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. 

Rehl is a 37-year-old Marine veteran as well as the son and grandson of Philadelphia police officers. He’d led Philadelphia’s chapter of the Proud Boys since at least 2018.

According to federal prosecutors, the indicted Proud Boys members, including Rehl, had conspired to “unleash a force on the Capitol [to] exert their political will on elected officials by force and undo the results of a democratic election”—President Biden’s victory over former President Trump in 2020.

Prosecutors asserted that Rehl and the others spent weeks organizing after Trump called on his supporters to rally in Washington the day Congress was scheduled to certify electoral votes in the 2020 presidential election.

At his sentencing hearing, Judge Kelly ruled that Rehl did, in fact, pepper spray law enforcement officers on January 6, despite Rehl having denied doing so even after the prosecution held up images that appeared to show him in the act.

In his statement before the judge, Rehl called January 6 a “despicable day,” and said he did things he regrets and made his family suffer.

Kelly, in handing down Rehl’s sentence, said he had to consider deterrence, calling some statements Rehl made after the January 6 riot—such as that the Proud Boys should have shown up “armed” and taken the country back that way— “chilling.”

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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