Joe Biggs, the leader of the Proud Boys, was sentenced to 17 years in prison for his role in the Capitol riot

US Army veteran Joe Biggs, a leader of the far-right Proud Boys, has been sentenced to 17 years in prison, one of the longest sentences yet handed out over the US Capitol riot. Biggs was convicted of seditious conspiracy and other charges in May. He pleaded for leniency and expressed remorse for his actions. The sentence, handed down by US District Judge Timothy Kelly, is below both federal sentencing guidelines and the 33 years sought by prosecutors. Another Proud Boys member, Zachary Rehl, was sentenced to 15 years on a charge of seditious conspiracy. Biggs was convicted of a slew of charges in May, including seditious conspiracy, intimidation or threats to prevent officials from discharging their duties, and interference with law enforcement during civil disorder.

The sentencing memo stated that Biggs used his military experience to direct and control large groups of men under his command to lead a "revolt against the government." He viewed himself and his movement as a second American revolution where he and other 'patriots' would retake the government by force. In court, Biggs apologized for his actions and said he was "seduced" by the crowd on the day of the riot. He said he knew that he had to be punished, and he understood that a stricter sentence may have created sentencing disparities with other convicted rioters.

The Proud Boys involved in the case have said they plan to appeal against the conviction. Federal prosecutor Jason McCullough said the crimes are "very serious" and that a stiff sentence would send a message ahead of next year's presidential election. Prosecutors used text messages, social media posts, and videos to show that the Proud Boys were involved in a coordinated effort to stop the certification of the 2020 election at the Capitol.


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