Former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio has been sentenced to 22 years in prison for orchestrating a failed plot to keep Donald Trump in power after the 2020 election. This marks the harshest punishment yet for individuals involved in the U.S. Capitol attack on January 6, 2021. Tarrio, 39, pleaded for leniency before the judge imposed the prison term, which surpasses the 18-year sentences given to Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and former Proud Boys leader Ethan Nordean for seditious conspiracy and other convictions related to the riot.
Tarrio, who led the neofascist group as it gained influence within mainstream Republican circles, expressed remorse for his actions and apologized to the police officers who defended the Capitol and the lawmakers who fled in fear. However, U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly, appointed by Trump, stated that Tarrio’s motivation to lead the conspiracy and the potential for future political violence warranted a stiff punishment.
Tarrio and three lieutenants were convicted in May of seditious conspiracy and other crimes after a months-long trial that highlighted the violent chaos fueled by Trump’s false claims about the election. Prosecutors had sought a 33-year prison term for Tarrio, describing him as the ringleader of a plot to use violence to overturn Joe Biden’s election victory.
Tarrio’s lawyers argued that their client should not be punished as severely as others involved in the attack, claiming that he had no intentions of overthrowing the government. They maintained that the Proud Boys’ only plans that day were to protest the election and confront left-wing activists.
Tarrio’s sentencing comes as the Justice Department prepares to put Trump on trial at the same courthouse in Washington on charges of illegally scheming to cling to power.