Ex-Proud Boys leader jailed for 22 years for Capitol riot

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Ex-Proud Boys leader jailed for 22 years for Capitol riot

The Proud Boys’ former leader has been jailed for 22 years for orchestrating the US Capitol riot, the longest sentence so far for a ringleader of the raid on the seat of American democracy.

Enrique Tarrio was convicted of seditious conspiracy, a US Civil War-era charge, and other counts in May.

Tarrio, 39, was not in Washington during the riot, but helped organise the far-right group’s involvement.

More than 1,100 people have been arrested on Capitol riot charges.

Before he learned his fate on Tuesday, an emotional Tarrio apologised to police and residents of Washington DC for his role in the 6 January 2021 riot, when supporters of then-US President Donald Trump stormed Congress as lawmakers certified Joe Biden’s election victory.

“I am extremely ashamed and disappointed that they were caused grief and suffering,” he told Washington’s federal courthouse. “I will have to live with that shame for the rest of my life.”

Tarrio, wearing an orange jail uniform, added: “I was my own worst enemy.

“My hubris convinced me that I was a victim and targeted unfairly.”

Acknowledging that Mr Trump had lost the November 2020 presidential election, Tarrio said: “I am not a political zealot.

“Inflicting harm or changing the results of the election was not my goal.

“I didn’t think it was even possible to change the results of the election.”

“Please show me mercy,” Tarrio asked the judge. “I ask you that you not take my 40s from me.”

At one point earlier, he could be seen wiping tears from his eyes as his mother asked the judge for leniency.

Tarrio was national chairman of the Proud Boys. Founded in New York City in 2016, members of the far-right group have described themselves as an all-male drinking club.

They regarded themselves as Mr Trump’s foot soldiers and have often been involved in street clashes with far-left anti-fascist activists.

Tarrio’s lawyer argued in court on Tuesday that his client was a “keyboard ninja” and “misguided patriot” who tended to “talk trash”, but had no intention of overthrowing the government.

However, US District Judge Timothy Kelly, a Trump nominee, noted that Tarrio had on many previous occasions expressed no remorse for his actions.

“Seditious conspiracy is a serious offence,” said Judge Kelly. “Mr Tarrio was the ultimate leader of that conspiracy.”

Tarrio was also found guilty in May of obstruction and conspiracy charges, civil disorder and destruction of government property.

Prosecutors had called his actions “a calculated act of terrorism”, meriting a sentence of 33 years in prison. The defence wanted no more than 15 years.

Tarrio stood silently while the judge handed down the penalty. As he was led from court, Tarrio waved to his family in the public gallery and flashed a peace sign.

His lawyers said he plans to appeal.