Proud Boys Ex-Leader Gets 22-Year Prison Term

A US federal judge on Tuesday sentenced former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio to 22 years in prison. The longest sentence handed down to date for anyone charged in connection with the January 6, 2021 assault on the US Capitol, corresponds to the harshest recommendation: prosecutors had requested 33 years in prison for him.

President of the Proud Boys from 2018 to 2021, this far-right neofascist organization which promotes violence to achieve its political ends, Tarrio was convicted last May, like three other leaders, of “seditious conspiracy”. His sentence remained to be pronounced.

Although banned from going to Washington on January 6, which almost overturned American democracy – due to a previous court injunction – Enrique Tarrio played a crucial role in planning the Capitol riot which aimed to prevent Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s victory, while Donald Trump continued to claim without evidence that the election was “stolen” from him. Some 200 members of the Proud Boys participated in the assault on the US Congress headquarters, which left five people dead, including a police officer, and during which more than 140 police officers were injured.

According to prosecutors, Enrique Tarrio, 39, is a “naturally charismatic leader” and “a shrewd propagandist” who used his influence over hundreds of supporters of the far-right group to orchestrate this attack. “This defendant and his accomplices targeted our entire system of government,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Conor Mulroe said at Tuesday’s hearing, because they wanted to challenge the outcome of the presidential election that had crowned Joe Biden the winner. “We need to make sure the consequences are crystal clear for anyone who might be unhappy with the results of 2024, 2028, 2032 or any future election, for as long as this matter is remembered. “, Mulroe warned.

Equipped with a strategic plan against government buildings
The investigation showed that the former petty criminal, who resold stolen diabetic test strips, became a police informer and then director of the association of “Latinos of the State of Florida for Trump”, had organized the rallies of the small group in Washington before January 6 in an effort to stop the peaceful transition of power, that he monitored their movements and encouraged them during the assault, brimming with their actions in the days following the insurrection. A nine-page strategic plan to “storm” government buildings in Washington on January 6 was found in his possession after the riot.

According to his lawyers, Enrique Tarrio’s only objective was to gather his troops in order to confront demonstrators from the far-left Antifa movement. And from Baltimore, in the neighboring state of Maryland, where he was on January 6, 2021, he had, they insisted, no way of controlling his friends who had turned violent. “My client is not a terrorist. My client is a misguided patriot. He was trying to protect this country, as misguided as it was,” argued Sabino Jauregui, one of his advisers.

Imprisoned since September 2021, Tarrio apologized profusely at the hearing, praising law enforcement who he said were unfairly mistreated and slandered after the attack. On the verge of tears, he called the attempted insurrection a “national embarrassment.” “We invoked 1776 and the Constitution of the United States and that was a mistake. It was a perversion. The events of January 6 are something that should never be celebrated,” he said.

Little sensitive to the remorse expressed on the stand by the accused, Judge Timothy Kelly considered Tarrio to be “the ultimate leader” of the plot to overturn the American presidential election. “The people that he brought together, the people that were there, again, played a crucial role… They played an important role, breach after breach after breach,” he concluded.

More than 1,100 people have been arrested for their participation in the assault on the Capitol. At least 630 people have pleaded guilty and at least 110 have been convicted. After the parliamentary commission of inquiry which worked extensively to determine responsibilities considered that Donald Trump should be held responsible, special prosecutor Jack Smith, in charge of a judicial investigation into the maneuvers aimed at overturning the 2020 elections , criminally charged the former Republican president in early August.

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