Former Proud Boys Chair Enrique Tarrio sentenced to 22 years in prison

September 5, 2023

Former Proud Boys chair Henry “Enrique” Tarrio was sentenced to 22 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 Tarrio.

Still, 22 years is the longest sentence imposed on anyone convicted in the January 6 insurrection.

Along with fellow former Proud Boys Joe Biggs, Ethan Nordean and Zachary Rehl, 39-year-old Tarrio 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. Kelly sentenced Rehl to 15 years on despite the DOJ’s request for 30 years for him.

On Friday, Kelly sentenced Nordean to 18 years, though the DOJ had asked for a 27-year prison sentence. Prior to Tarrio’s sentencing, Nordean was tied with former Oath Keepers’ leader Stewart Rhodes for being levied with the longest prison sentence for January 6.

Another former Proud Boys member, Dominic Pezzola, who was not found guilty of seditious conspiracy but was convicted of other serious crimes, was also sentenced Friday. Kelly slapped him with a 10-year sentence, though prosecutors had asked for 20.

The Proud Boys’ March 7 indictment can be read here, and a June 6 superseding indictment can be read here.

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.

All five defendants were also found guilty of destruction of government property along with obstructing the 2020 Electoral College vote which carries a prison sentence of up to five years.

Tarrio’s defense attorneys had argued that he should receive lenience because he was not even in Washington DC on January 6 due to having been arrested in Maryland two days earlier for destroying property at a historic African-American church.

Prosecutors have countered that Tarrio’s having spent January 6 in a Baltimore hotel “does nothing to detract from the severity of his conduct” because he “was a general rather than a soldier” in what they called in their closing arguments “Trump’s army”—stirring fellow Proud Boys toward violence in the lead-up to January 6 and directing them that day to attack the U.S. Capitol building.

In a court filing, DOJ prosecutors wrote, “The foot soldiers of the right aimed to keep their leader in power. They failed. They are not heroes; they are criminals.”

Further, prosecutors sought to apply the “terrorism enhancement” to Tarrio’s sentence. Noting that it was reasonably foreseeable that violence could occur ahead of the riot—and that Tarrio had told Proud Boys members to bring pepper spray with them to Washington—Judge Kelly agreed with the prosecution that the enhancement should apply to Tarrio’s sentencing.

Kelly also noted that despite his not being physically present, during the riot Tarrio posted on social media, “Proud of my boys and my country,” and, “Don’t fucking leave.”

“Not all contact between coconspirators needs to be concealed. Sometimes it can happen right out in the open,” Kelly said.

Speaking on his own behalf at his sentencing, Tarrio said, “The citizens of DC deserve better. What happened on January 6 was a national embarrassment.”

In his final remarks before sentencing Judge Kelly acknowledged that January 6 “physically damaged property and hurt people,” and “broke our previously unbroken tradition of peacefully transferring power,” which is going to take time to fix. He added that he believed Tarrio was the “ultimate leader” of the conspiracy.

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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