Ethan Nordean, a former leader of the Proud Boys far-right extremist group, has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for his involvement in the January 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol. Nordean was convicted of spearheading the attack in an attempt to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden after the 2020 presidential election. Prosecutors described him as the undisputed leader on the ground during the riot.
Dominic Pezzola, another member of the Proud Boys, was also sentenced on the same day to 10 years in prison for his role in the Capitol breach. Pezzola was convicted of smashing a window at the Capitol and defiantly declaring “Trump won!” as he left the courtroom. Both sentences tie the record for the longest sentences handed down in relation to the January 6th attack.
Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the Oath Keepers far-right extremist group, currently holds the record for the longest sentence in the Capitol riot case with 18 years. Members of both the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers were separately convicted of seditious conspiracy, a rarely brought Civil War-era offense.
Nordean’s sentencing comes after a monthslong trial that ended in May, during which the trial exposed the embrace of lies by Trump and his allies regarding the 2020 election being stolen. Over 1,100 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Capitol riot, with more than 600 already convicted and sentenced.
The sentencing was conducted by U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly, a Trump appointee, who also applied a terrorism enhancement in both Nordean and Pezzola’s cases. Nordean’s defense attorneys argued against the idea that he tore down the fence or that his rhetoric was specifically about January 6th, while Pezzola’s lawyers claimed he got caught up in the events of the day.
Nordean expressed remorse during the sentencing, calling the events of January 6th a “complete and utter tragedy” and apologizing to those he had wronged. However, as Pezzola was led out of the courtroom, he raised a fist and exclaimed, “Trump won!”
The sentencing of Nordean and Pezzola follows the recent sentencing of other Proud Boys members, including Joseph Biggs and Zachary Rehl, who received 17 and 15 years in prison, respectively. The trial shed light on the involvement of far-right extremists in the Capitol riot and their adherence to baseless claims of election fraud.