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First Proud Boy Sentenced To 17 Years in Prison After Seditious Conspiracy Conviction



Proud Boy member Joe Biggs. (Photo: Imgur)
Proud Boy member Joe Biggs. (Photo: Imgur)

Joe Biggs, member of white nationalist group Proud Boys, during a dinner with Sen. Lindsey Graham at Trump hotel the night before the Jan 6 attack on the US Capitol.

On Thursday, Proud Boy member Joe Biggs was handed a 17-year prison sentence, the second-lengthiest term given to an individual convicted in connection with the Capitol attack on January 6, 2021.

Earlier this year, Biggs was convicted of sedition and other serious felonies. He was accused of leading members of the right-wing extremist group to the Capitol and engaging with the first rioters to breach police barricades just moments before the individuals took action.

During his appearance in court on Thursday, the Florida Army veteran donned an orange prison-issued jumpsuit paired with a white undershirt and distinctive black thick-frame glasses. His white hair was fashioned into a mohawk, and his beard had grown out.

While addressing the court, Biggs expressed his weariness of the left-versus-right divide and stated that he aspired to be part of his daughter’s parent-teacher association in the future. Tearfully, he admitted his mistake on that fateful day but vehemently denied being a terrorist.

“I know I messed up that day, but I’m not a terrorist,” he said.

However, U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly applied a terrorism enhancement to Biggs’s sentencing guidelines. This enhancement is triggered when an offense is determined to have been committed with the intent to intimidate or coerce the government or to retaliate against government actions.

Judge Kelly referenced Biggs’s actions in attempting to breach the Capitol perimeter and pushing the rioters closer to their goal of disrupting the 2020 election certification as the rationale behind applying the enhancement. He emphasized that this decision was not a difficult one to make.

“I really don’t think this is a close call,” he said of the decision.

Despite this, the imposed sentence of 204 months fell significantly short of the prosecutors’ request for 33 years of imprisonment, which was the highest sentencing demand for any defendant linked to the Capitol attack.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason McCullough argued that Biggs’s rhetoric before and after the attack demonstrated the necessity of a substantial sentence. McCullough stated that Biggs had advocated for violence and promoted false claims of election fraud, which ultimately motivated him and other Proud Boys to obstruct the vote certification on January 6, 2021.

McCullough asserted, “Joe Biggs will continue to carry out acts of political violence to meet his agendas… These are not words; they’re convictions.”

Joe Biggs, member of white nationalist group Proud Boys, during a dinner with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) at Trump hotel weeks before the Jan 6 attack on the US Capitol.

Joe Biggs, member of white nationalist group Proud Boys, during a dinner with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) at Trump hotel weeks before the Jan 6 attack on the US Capitol.

Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, whose sentencing was eagerly anticipated, was slated for a 33-year sentence as well but saw his sentencing postponed at the last minute the day prior.

Earlier in May, Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes received an 18-year prison sentence, the lengthiest term handed down in connection with the events of January 6.

Biggs and fellow defendant Zachary Rehl attributed blame to Trump for the Capitol attack in their joint sentencing memorandum. While they acknowledged that Trump’s role did not justify their actions, they suggested that having heeded the former president’s calls that day should be taken into account as mitigating circumstances.

“It was Donald Trump’s words, it was his motivation, it was his anger that caused what occurred on Jan. 6,” Tarrio attorney Nayib Hassan said in closing remarks of the trial.

During their trial, the five Proud Boys defendants consistently pointed to Trump as the driving force behind the Capitol riot, deflecting blame away from themselves.

As for Trump, he was now facing charges in two criminal cases stemming from his actions after losing the 2020 presidential election. The federal trial in Washington, D.C., scheduled to commence on March 4, charged Trump with conspiring to overturn the election, culminating in the violent events at the Capitol.


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