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Second Proud Boy Slapped With 15 Years in Prison Over Jan 6 Role



Proud Boy Zachary Rehl Slapped With 15 Years in Prison Over Jan 6 Role
Proud Boy Zachary Rehl was sentenced to 15 years in prison over Jan 6 role. (Photo: Imgur)

Zachary Rehl, a member of the right-wing extremist grout the Proud Boys, received a 15-year prison sentence on Thursday following his conviction for orchestrating a heated mob’s march toward the Capitol on January 6, 2021. The intent was to disrupt the certification of the 2020 election results to help Donald Trump stay in power after being defeated by President Joe Biden.

Speaking in court, the former president of the Philadelphia chapter of Proud Boys admitted that his obsession with politics led him astray, causing him to lose sight of what truly mattered in life.

Regarding the events of January 6th, Rehl characterized it as a “repugnant day.” Emotionally overwhelmed, he expressed his decision to sever ties with politics and discontinue spreading falsehoods on behalf of individuals who showed no concern for him. His voice intermittently cracked as he spoke, wiping away tears and taking pauses to regain composure.

Notably, Rehl’s 15-year sentence was significantly shorter than the 33-year term sought by prosecutors. U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly explained that this decision aimed to prevent an excessive disparity in sentencing for the January 6th offenders. Judge Kelly conveyed astonishment at the substantial deviation from the recommended guidelines and government’s plea. He pondered whether he would ever encounter such a substantial divergence again during his career.

During the trial, Rehl, a former U.S. Marine, claimed that he had not been instructed to attack the Capitol or cause harm to anyone. He asserted that he had not engaged in such actions. However, under cross-examination, prosecutors presented evidence suggesting that he had sprayed law enforcement officers with a chemical substance, despite initially claiming not to remember doing so.

Judge Kelly considered this contradiction in determining Rehl’s sentence. He concluded that Rehl had lied during his testimony, constituting perjury according to the preponderance of evidence standard. Additionally, the judge applied a terrorism enhancement to Rehl’s sentence, as the offense was aimed at influencing government actions through intimidation or coercion, although no significant loss of life occurred.

Rehl’s sentence ranks as the third-longest among those handed down for the Capitol attack. The leader of the Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes, received an 18-year sentence – the most severe among January 6th cases. Proud Boy Joe Biggs received a 17-year sentence on the same day as Rehl’s sentencing.

Leading up to the Capitol attack, Rehl had advocated for “firing squads” against alleged election “traitors.” After the attack, he deemed it a “promising beginning,” suggesting that the rioters should have arrived armed to seize the country in a different manner. Judge Kelly described these statements as disturbing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Erik Kenerson argued that the fear surrounding potential future incidents on January 6th stems significantly from the goals and actions of Rehl and his co-conspirators. Kenerson advocated for a lengthy prison term for Rehl.

In contrast, Rehl sought a sentence of three years or less, and his attorney, Norman Pattis, contended that the government’s recommended sentence was excessive and disproportionate. Pattis likened it to the tragic Waco siege in 1993. Pattis also asserted that Rehl and other participants had been influenced by former President Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud. He questioned why Trump himself was not charged with seditious conspiracy.

Following the sedition convictions of the Proud Boys, Trump faced criminal charges related to his post-election actions. A federal case in Washington, D.C. implicated him in a conspiracy to overturn the election, culminating in the Capitol assault, with the trial set to commence on March 4th.

During an initial debate with President Biden, Trump’s call for the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” energized the group, as presented as evidence during the trial.

The sentencing of three other Proud Boys involved in the Capitol attack – Ethan Nordean, Dominic Pezzola, and leader Enrique Tarrio – is pending in the upcoming days.


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