October 4, 2023

By Lindsay Whitehurst | Related Press

WASHINGTON — A former member of the far-right Proud Boys extremist group who smashed a window on the U.S. Capitol within the constructing’s first breach of the Jan. 6, 2021, riot was sentenced on Friday to 10 years in jail — after which defiantly declared as he walked out of the courtroom, “Trump received!”

The sentence for Dominic Pezzola is the most recent handed down after leaders of the group had been convicted of spearheading an assault aimed toward stopping the peaceable switch of energy from Donald Trump to Joe Biden after the 2020 presidential election.

Pezzola, 46, took a police officer’s riot defend and used it to smash the window, enable rioters to make the primary breach into the Capitol, and he later filmed a “celebratory video” with a cigar contained in the constructing, prosecutors stated. He was a current Proud Boys recruit, nonetheless, and a jury acquitted him of probably the most high-profile cost, seditious conspiracy, a hardly ever introduced Civil Warfare-era offense. He was convicted of different severe expenses, and prosecutors had requested for 20 years in jail.

“He was an enthusiastic foot soldier,” prosecutor Erik Kenerson stated.

U.S. District Decide Timothy Kelly famous that Pezzola, of Rochester, New York, was a newcomer to the group who didn’t write the type of more and more violent on-line messages that his co-defendants did main as much as the Jan. 6 assault. Nonetheless, he was in some methods a “tip of the spear” in permitting rioters to get into the Capitol, the decide stated.

“The fact is you smashed that window in and let folks start to stream into the Capitol constructing and threaten the lives of our lawmakers,” the decide instructed Pezzola. “It’s not one thing that I ever dreamed I might have seen in our nation.”

Protection attorneys had requested for 5 years for Pezzola, saying that he bought “caught up within the craziness” that day.

Pezzola testified at trial that he initially grabbed the officer’s defend to guard himself from police riot management measures, and his attorneys argued that he broke just one pane of glass and that it was different rioters who smashed out the remainder of the window.

He instructed the decide that he wished he’d by no means crossed right into a restricted space on Jan. 6, and he apologized to the officer whose defend he took. “There isn’t any place in my future for teams or politics by any means,” he stated.

However later, as he left the courtroom, he raised a fist and stated, “Trump received!”

One other Proud Boy, former chapter president Ethan Nordean, of Auburn, Washington, can be set to be sentenced Friday. Prosecutor are asking the decide to condemn him to 27 years.

Two of their co-defendants had been sentenced Thursday to a few the longest jail phrases handed down but within the Jan. 6 assault. Joseph Biggs, an organizer from Ormond Seaside, Florida, bought 17 years, and Zachary Rehl, a frontrunner of the Philadelphia chapter, bought 15 years.

The very best profile defendant within the monthslong trial, former high Proud Boys chief Enrique Tarrio, is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday. His sentencing was moved from Wednesday to subsequent week as a result of the decide was sick.

The Proud Boys’ trial laid naked far-right extremists’ embrace of lies by Trump, a Republican, that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

Greater than 1,100 folks have been charged with Capitol riot-related federal crimes. Over 600 of them have been convicted and sentenced.

The longest Jan. 6-related jail sentence to date was 18 years for Stewart Rhodes, founder one other far-right extremist group, the Oath Keepers. Six members of that anti-government group additionally had been convicted of seditious conspiracy after a separate trial final 12 months.