Proud Boys organizer Joseph Biggs sentenced in Jan. 6 case to 17 years for seditious conspiracy

15:30 31.08.2023

Former Proud Boys leader Joseph Biggs has been sentenced to 17 years in prison for his role in storming the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, as part of a failed attempt to overturn President Joe Biden's election victory. The sentence marks the second-longest prison term handed down for anyone involved in the Capitol riot. Biggs, along with three other members of the Proud Boys, was found guilty of seditious conspiracy and other felonies in May.

During Thursday's proceedings, Biggs apologized for his actions on January 6, expressing remorse and crying as he asked for leniency in order to stay with his daughter, who he revealed was a sexual assault victim. He claimed to have been seduced by the crowd and said that his curiosity got the better of him. Biggs asserted that he is not a terrorist and does not have hate in his heart.

The Capitol riot, during which supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in an attempt to prevent the peaceful transfer of power, has led to over 1,106 individuals being charged. Approximately 597 have been convicted and sentenced. Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the Oath Keepers, another far-right group, had previously been sentenced to 18 years in prison in a separate seditious conspiracy case. Seditious conspiracy, established under a Civil War-era law, makes it a crime to conspire to oppose the government by force.

Joseph Biggs, a top lieutenant of former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, was the first of the Proud Boys co-defendants to be sentenced. He was convicted of numerous felony counts tied to the Capitol riot, including seditious conspiracy, conspiring to obstruct Congress, and civil disorder. However, he was acquitted on charges of assaulting officers and destruction of government property. Prosecutors had requested a 33-year prison sentence for Biggs, citing his tactical advantage and understanding of the significance of his actions against the government.

During the trial, evidence was presented that Biggs was part of Tarrio's close leadership team and involved in coordinating the mob. The group allegedly formed a Ministry of Self-Defense structure, with Tarrio at the top, to strategize their presence at Trump's rally on January 6. Biggs, along with co-defendants Zachary Rehl and Ethan Nordean, was part of this group. Dominic Pezzola, the only defendant acquitted of seditious conspiracy, was not a member of the Ministry of Self-Defense.

Prosecutors argued that Biggs acted as the tip of the spear throughout the attack on January 6, being among the first wave across barriers, tearing down fences, charging up scaffolding, and among the first rioters to enter the Capitol. They requested a terrorism-related sentencing enhancement, claiming that the group tried to influence the government through intimidation or coercion.

Biggs's defense team disagreed with the terrorism-related enhancement and argued that a decade or more in prison would be an excessive punishment. They maintained that while there may have been excesses of zeal on January 6, their clients are not terrorists.

The Proud Boys defendants plan to appeal their convictions in the case.

/ Thursday, August 31, 2023, 3:30 PM /

themes:  Joe Biden  Donald Trump

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