Former Proud Boys national chairman Enrique Tarrio will be sentenced on Tuesday for his involvement in a plot to attack the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. The attack aimed to stop the transfer of presidential power after Donald Trump lost the 2020 election. Tarrio is the final Proud Boys leader convicted of seditious conspiracy in the Capitol riot to be sentenced. Three other Proud Boys members were sentenced last week to prison terms ranging from 15 to 18 years for the same charge. The Justice Department is seeking over 30 years in prison for Tarrio, describing him as the ringleader of a plot to use violence to undermine American democracy and overturn Joe Biden’s election victory.
Tarrio was not present in Washington on January 6 as he had been arrested two days earlier in an unrelated case. However, prosecutors allege that he played a role in inciting the violence and chaos that disrupted the certification of Biden’s electoral victory. Prosecutors cited Tarrio’s public statements indicating that he has no regrets about the events that unfolded on January 6.
Tarrio’s sentencing was delayed due to the illness of U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly, who sentenced Tarrio’s co-defendants to prison terms last week. Ethan Nordean, who prosecutors identified as the leader of the Proud Boys on the ground during the riot, received an 18-year prison sentence. Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the Oath Keepers, another right-wing extremist group, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for his involvement in a separate case related to the Capitol attack.
Tarrio’s lawyers argue that there is no evidence to suggest that he directed participants to storm the Capitol. They contend that being involved in planning a protest is not the same as instructing others to engage in violence. Tarrio was previously arrested in Washington on January 4, 2021, for defacing a Black Lives Matter banner, but law enforcement officials later revealed that concerns about potential unrest during the certification played a role in his arrest. Tarrio complied with a judge’s order to leave the city after being released.
The government’s case against Tarrio relied on hundreds of messages exchanged by the Proud Boys leading up to January 6. Tarrio allegedly encouraged and supported the actions of the Proud Boys as they stormed the Capitol, as evidenced by his social media posts and messages in encrypted group chats. Tarrio’s messages included statements such as “Do what must be done” and “We did this.”