COURTS & LEGAL

Proud Boys’ Enrique Tarrio gets 22 years in prison for Jan. 6 seditious conspiracy

Sep 5, 2023, 4:56 PM | Updated: 5:36 pm

FILE - Proud Boys leader Henry "Enrique" Tarrio wears a hat that says The War Boys during a rally i...

FILE - Proud Boys leader Henry "Enrique" Tarrio wears a hat that says The War Boys during a rally in Portland, Ore., Sept. 26, 2020. A federal jury is set to hear closing arguments in the historic trial of Proud Boys extremist group leaders charged with plotting to use force to keep former President Donald Trump in power. Starting Monday, April 24, 2023, prosecutors and defense lawyers will make their final appeals to jurors who will decide the fate of former Proud Boys national chairman Enrique Tarrio and four lieutenants. (AP Photo/Allison Dinner, File)

(AP Photo/Allison Dinner, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio was sentenced Tuesday to 22 years in prison for orchestrating his far-right extremist group’s attack on the U.S. Capitol in a failed bid to stop the transfer of presidential power after Donald Trump lost the 2020 election.

Tarrio’s sentence is the longest so far among more than 1,100 Capitol riot cases, topping the 18-year sentences that Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and one-time Proud Boys leader Ethan Nordean each received after juries convicted them of seditious conspiracy and other charges.

It comes as the Justice Department prepares to put Trump on trial at the same courthouse in Washington on charges that the then-president illegally schemed to cling to power that he knew had been stripped away by voters.

Proud Boys leader Ethan Nordean gets 18 years in prison, tying for longest sentence in Jan. 6 attack

The Tarrio case — and hundreds of others like it — function as a vivid reminder of the violent chaos fueled by Trump’s lies around the election and the extent to which his false claims helped inspire right-wing extremists who ultimately stormed the Capitol to thwart the peaceful transfer of power.

Rising to speak before the sentence was handed down, Tarrio pleaded for leniency, describing Jan. 6 as a “national embarrassment,” and apologizing to the police officers who defended the Capitol and the lawmakers who fled in fear. His voice cracked as he expressed remorse for letting down his family and vowed that he is done with politics.

“I am not a political zealot. Inflicting harm or changing the results of the election was not my goal,” Tarrio said.

“Please show me mercy,” he said, adding, “I ask you that you not take my 40s from me.”

U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly, who was appointed to the bench by Trump, said Tarrio was motivated by “revolutionary zeal” to lead the conspiracy that resulted in “200 men, amped up for battle, encircling the Capitol.” Noting that Tarrio had not previously shown any public remorse for his crimes, the judge said a stiff punishment was necessary to deter future political violence.

“It can’t happen again. It can’t happen again,” the judge repeated.

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes sentenced to 18 years for seditious conspiracy in Jan. 6 attack

Standing before the judge in orange jail garb, Tarrio lowered his head after the sentence was read, then squared his shoulders and put his hands before his back.

Prosecutors had sought 33 years behind bars for Tarrio, describing him as the ringleader of a plot to use violence to shatter the cornerstone of American democracy and overturn the election victory by Joe Biden, a Democrat, over Trump, the Republican incumbent.

Prosecutor Conor Mulroe told the judge that the Proud Boys came dangerously close to succeeding in their plot to stop the transfer of presidential power — and noted that “it didn’t take rifles or explosives.”

“There was a very real possibility we were going to wake up on Jan. 7 in a full-blown constitutional crisis,” Mulroe said, with “300 million Americans having no idea who the next president would be or how it would be decided.”

The prosecutor urged the judge to ensure that “consequences are abundantly clear to anyone who might be unhappy with the results of 2024, 2028, 2032 or any future election for as long as this case is remembered.”

Tarrio wasn’t in Washington, D.C, when Proud Boys members joined thousands of Trump supporters, who smashed windows, beat police officers and poured into the House and Senate chambers as lawmakers met to certify Biden’s victory. But prosecutors say the 39-year-old Miami resident organized and led the Proud Boys’ assault from afar, inspiring followers with his charisma and penchant for propaganda.

Tarrio had been arrested two days before the Capitol riot on charges that he defaced a Black Lives Matter banner during an earlier rally in the nation’s capital, and he had complied with a judge’s order to leave the city after his arrest.

The judge agreed with prosecutors that the Proud Boys’ crimes could be punished as “terrorism” — increasing the recommended sentence under federal guidelines. But he ultimately sentenced the Proud Boys to prison terms shorter than what prosecutors were seeking.

The backbone of the government’s case was hundreds of messages exchanged by Proud Boys in the days leading up to Jan. 6 that prosecutors say showed how the extremists saw themselves as revolutionaries and celebrated the Capitol attack, which sent lawmakers running into hiding.

As Proud Boys swarmed the Capitol, Tarrio cheered them on from afar, writing on social media, “Do what must be done.” In a Proud Boys encrypted group chat later that day someone asked what they should do next. Tarrio responded, “Do it again.”

“Make no mistake,” Tarrio wrote in another message. “We did this.”

Tarrio’s lawyers denied the Proud Boys had any plan to attack the Capitol or stop the certification of Biden’s victory. They argued that prosecutors used Tarrio as a scapegoat for Trump, who spoke at the “Stop the Steal” rally near the White House on Jan. 6 and urged his supporters to “fight like hell.”

Tarrio is the final Proud Boys leader convicted of seditious conspiracy to receive his punishment. Three fellow Proud Boys found guilty by a Washington jury of the rarely used sedition charge were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 15 to 18 years.

The Justice Department is appealing the 18-year prison sentence of Rhodes, the Oath Keepers founder, who was convicted of seditious conspiracy in a separate case, as well as the sentences of other members of his antigovernment militia group that were lighter than what prosecutors had sought. Prosecutors had requested 25 years in prison for Rhodes.

KSL 5 TV Live

Courts & Legal

Sam Lemon, right, speaks during a news conference with Susie Williams Carter, center, and lawyer Mi...

Alisha Ebrahimji, CNN

A Black teen wrongfully executed for murdering a White woman in 1931. Now, his family is suing to defend his name

More than 90 years after Alexander McClay Williams was wrongfully executed, his family is suing the Delaware County, Pennsylvania, for damages, alleging he was sentenced to the electric chair for a crime he did not commit.

2 days ago

Cherry Stewart and her husband, Zachary Stewart, adopted two children from Haiti more than a year a...

Alex Cabrero

Utah family obtains legal assistance to help get children they adopted out of Haiti

In hopes of getting their two adopted children out of Haiti, a Utah family has joined with more than 20 other families in hiring the Fox Rothschild law firm that deals with difficult international adoptions.

3 days ago

Orlando Esiesa Tobar, 29, from Honduras, who goes by the moniker “Chaparro,” was charged Tuesda...

Brianna Chavez

Suspect accused of kidnapping, killing Kearns woman pleads guilty

One of six suspects pled guilty to the kidnapping and death of a 25-year-old Kearns woman in court Friday.

4 days ago

FILE - Steam billows from a coal-fired power plant Nov. 18, 2021, in Craig, Colo. The U.S. Securiti...

David A. Lieb, Associated Press

Republican AGs ask Supreme Court to block climate change lawsuits brought by several states

Utah state attorney general joins eighteen other Republican AGs in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to get involved in a dispute over climate-change lawsuits.

4 days ago

The Audi after it was hit by an SUV on May 12....

Carlysle Price

Man facing six charges after car accident that injured two

A man was charged Thursday in connection to a car accident on May 12 that injured two.

5 days ago

View from outside the Utah State Prison....

Amy Donaldson, KSL Podcasts

‘The Letter Season 2’: Letters lead to meeting killer, life-changing moment

The sister of a murdered man reaches out to the killer. She did it without the knowledge of the rest of her family and it changed the course of all their lives.

7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Proud Boys’ Enrique Tarrio gets 22 years in prison for Jan. 6 seditious conspiracy