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September 1, 2022

Longest prison term yet — 10 years — given to Jan 6 rioter who assaulted police officer

As reported in this Politico piece, a " federal judge on Thursday sentenced former New York cop Thomas Webster to 10 years in prison for assaulting a police officer outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, the longest sentence handed down yet in cases that arise from the attack."  Here is more:

U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta described Webster’s assault on D.C. police officer Noah Rathbun as one of the most haunting and shocking images from that violent day.

“I do wish you hadn’t come to Washington D.C. I do wish you had stayed home in New York, that you had not come out to the Capitol that day,” Mehta said. “Because all of us would be far better off. Not just you, your family, country. We’d all be far better off. Yet here we are.”

Mehta said he viewed Webster’s conduct as among the most egregious of any defendant sentenced so far. Until Thursday, the lengthiest sentences had been given to Texas militia member Guy Reffitt and local Virginia police officer Thomas Robertson, who were convicted by juries of attempting to obstruct congressional proceedings.

It’s the latest in a string of steeper sentences that have been issued as rioters facing felony charges — some of whom have taken their cases to trial — learn their fate from the judges who have presided over their cases for more than a year.

Images of Webster attempting to rip the gas mask off of Rathbun’s face amid broader chaos at the Capitol are among the most indelible images to emerge from the Jan. 6 attack. Mehta expressed incredulity that Webster took the stand in his own defense and attempted to argue that his effort to rip the officer’s gas mask off was really just to show him his hands and prove he wasn’t a threat.

Notably, though this case represents the longest sentencing to date for a Jan 6 rioter, the sentence of 10 years is still a full 7+ years below what the federal sentencing guidelines recommended (and what the federal prosecutors requested).

Some of many prior related posts:

September 1, 2022 at 05:34 PM | Permalink


As a former NYC police officer with a violent conviction and 10 years to serve, he will probably initially be sent to a medium security BOP prison (but he could go to a Low), where the average sentence length is about 23 years. Then, within a year or 2 he would be transferred down to a Low security prison, with good behavior. If the BOP decides that this man is a high risk inmate (because of his law enforcement background and his crimes), they might try to swap him off to serve his time in some state Dept. of Corrections (the BOP likes to send people to North Dakota, which has a small penitentiary, where inmates get to wear blue jeans and kakhis sent from the street). It will be interesting to see what they do with this inmate.

Posted by: Jim Gormley | Sep 2, 2022 1:40:26 PM

I actually called this one right. I said "ten should do fine." Glad that judges actually listen to me even if only when I write anonymously, and even if onlyonine!

Posted by: anon1 | Sep 3, 2022 4:16:03 PM

anon1 - our next federal district court Judge....

Posted by: atomicfrog | Sep 5, 2022 2:06:10 PM

Chances that enthusiasm for tough sentencing extends beyond Jan 6 defendants to your more garden variety hoodlum = approximately zero. Welcome to the "neutral principles" of the Left.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Sep 5, 2022 6:08:35 PM

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