A Virginia man who told a federal jury that he had a “fun” time during the January 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol has been sentenced to six years in prison for assaulting police officers while participating in the violent attack.
Markus Maly, 49, received a prison term significantly lower than what the prosecutors had sought for his involvement in the deadly insurrection. The Justice Department had recommended a sentence of 15 years and eight months for Maly.
According to court documents, Maly sprayed a chemical, possibly pepper spray, at a Metropolitan Police Department officer as the officers retreated into a tunnel. He also passed the spray canister to other rioters and participated in a coordinated push against the police. Additionally, he left the tunnel with a stolen riot shield as a “trophy.”
During the trial, Maly testified that he found participating in the Capitol riot to be “fun.” He even described the events of January 6 as “fun” and “awesome” in messages he sent to his wife and others, the Associated Press reports.
Prosecutors described Maly as a “lifelong criminal” with a history of 33 prior convictions, including two for assaulting law enforcement officers.
“Maly admitted to being proud of his actions at the Capitol and boasted about them,” wrote prosecutor Stephen Rancourt in a court filing. “Despite witnessing police officers being assaulted, injured, and distressed on January 6, and being aware that it was a tragic day for members of Congress and the police, Maly repeatedly emphasized that his experience that day was ‘fun.'”
However, Maly expressed regret to U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta for traveling to Washington and joining the mob of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters at the Capitol and maintained that he merely “occupied space” in the crowd and denied attacking or using pepper spray against the police.
“I attended a rally. That’s all I did,” Maly told the judge.
The judge informed Maly that the jury had ample evidence to find him guilty of assaulting the police.
“It’s not just about you being present and ‘occupying space.’ It’s about your actions and continuous engagement in those actions throughout the day,” the judge stated.
Prosecutors revealed that Maly is among several Capitol rioters who have attempted to capitalize on their notoriety by portraying themselves as patriots, martyrs, or political prisoners while soliciting donations from supporters. While prosecutors acknowledged the defendants’ right to raise funds for their legal defenses, they have increasingly requested judges to impose fines in addition to prison terms to recover donations used for personal expenses.
Maly has collected over $16,500 through a donation page on GiveSendGo, referring to himself as a “January 6 P.O.W.” Prosecutors urged the judge to impose a fine equivalent to the amount raised, highlighting that Maly had a public defender and did not have any legal fees.
The judge decided against imposing a fine, stating that while Maly’s fundraising activities might be objectionable, he questioned the legal basis for reclaiming the money.
Maly has been in custody since his conviction in December on all eight charges against him, including felony counts of civil disorder and assaulting, resisting, or impeding police officers with a dangerous weapon.