« Notable new resource provides "Data for Defenders" | Main | "Collusive Prosecution" »

September 5, 2023

Proud Boys leader, Enrique Tarrio, sentenced to 22 years for his role in Jan 6 activities

As reported in this Politico piece, "Enrique Tarrio, the national leader of the Proud Boys on Jan. 6, 2021, was sentenced Tuesday to 22 years in prison for masterminding a seditious conspiracy aimed at derailing the transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden."  Here is more:

The sentence, the lengthiest among hundreds arising from the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, is a reflection of prosecutors’ evidence that the Proud Boys, helmed by Tarrio, played the most pivotal role in stoking the violent breach of police lines and the Capitol itself. “Mr. Tarrio was the ultimate leader of that conspiracy. Mr. Tarrio was the ultimate leader, the ultimate person who organized, who was motivated by revolutionary zeal,” U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Kelly said as he handed down Tarrio’s sentence. “That conspiracy ended up with about 200 men amped up for battle encircling the Capitol.”

Hundreds of Proud Boys from across the country, vetted and assembled by Tarrio and a group of top lieutenants, became a vanguard of sorts as a mob of Trump supporters descended on the Capitol, and members of the group were involved in nearly every breach of police lines that day.  Dominic Pezzola, a New York Proud Boy who triggered the breach of the Capitol itself by smashing a Senate window with a stolen police shield, was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison.

Tarrio, unlike most of his co-conspirators, was not at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Upon his arrival in Washington on Jan. 4, 2021, he was arrested for his role in the theft and burning of a Black Lives Matter flag from a church after an earlier pro-Trump march. Tarrio was released the next day and ordered to leave Washington D.C., so he headed with a group of allies to a hotel in Baltimore.

Prosecutors say despite his absence, he remained in touch with his men and monitored their actions on Jan. 6. And after the attack, he repeatedly celebrated the attack, defended his allies and regretted that it didn’t fully derail the transfer of power. He was convicted in May of seditious conspiracy, conspiring to obstruct Congress’ proceedings and destroying government property, among other charges.

Tarrio’s sentence closes a significant chapter in the investigation of the Jan. 6 attack. His 22-year sentence is likely to remain the lengthiest for anyone charged in connection with the attack itself — a mark that exceeds the 18-year sentences handed down to Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and Tarrio’s ally Ethan Nordean....

Kelly, a Trump appointee, appeared largely unmoved by Tarrio’s words of contrition. He emphasized that as the attack unfolded, he used his platform to tell his allies “Don’t fucking leave.” And that night, Tarrio privately told a confidant, “Make no mistake. We did this.” Despite Tarrio’s contrition, Kelly again slammed him for comparing Pezzola to George Washington. “It slanders the father of our country to speak that way,” Kelly said. The judge added that he doesn’t see evidence, despite Tarrio’s apologies, that he feels remorse for the seditious conspiracy for which he was convicted.

September 5, 2023 at 06:30 PM | Permalink


Entirely appropriate sentence for a person convicted of seditious conspiracy to block the peaceful transfer of power--a first in the history of America. His fellow travelers were also justifiably punished with lengthy sentences:

Stewart Rhodes: 18 years.
Joe Biggs: 17 years.
Zach Rehl: 15 years.
Peter Schwartz: 14 years.
Daniel “D.J.” Rodriguez: 12 years.
Dominic Pezzola: 10 years.
Thomas Webster: 10 years.

But is it just that these underlings go to prison while the fat cat mastermind Donald Trump and his enablers wallk free and enjoy Mar-a-Lago? I think not.

Posted by: anon | Sep 5, 2023 8:17:06 PM

Anon, I agree with your observations. In light of the sentences given to the underlings, t is only just that the prime mover of the insurrection face the consequences of his conduct. I have hope that Mr. Trump's Day and that of his enablers is coming.

Posted by: Emily | Sep 6, 2023 10:22:35 AM

It warms my heart to see folks who've spent years rooting for criminals and making excuses for them finally understand that when these guys make their choices, they should be accountable for them. Thank you!

I'd like to think that this new, more realistic attitude will continue when the garden-variety burglar or child rapist shows up, but the chances of that are about the same as the chances that Hunter made his millions honestly.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Sep 6, 2023 11:17:42 AM

Bill Otis, your assumption that I am a liberal "rooting for criminals" is quite wrong. Whatever gave you that idea? I am confident that I am at least as conservative as Judge Kelly who imposed the sentence.

Posted by: anon | Sep 6, 2023 11:34:35 AM


We can all make a more informed assessment of your claim to be a conservative if you would give us your name, background and professional activities. No need to hide, is there?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Sep 6, 2023 2:14:19 PM

As a recovering conservative myself who believes that sentences in this country in general are over-long, I find these sentences, and recent white-collars like Liz Holmes, to present something of a dilemma.

On a more practical note, however, Seditious Conspiracy has a 20 year max. Did this involve some stacking?

Posted by: Fat Bastard | Sep 7, 2023 8:27:02 AM

I'm sure Federalist is busy drafting an amicus brief for the D.C. Circuit assailing the sentence as draconian.

Posted by: Really? | Sep 7, 2023 12:33:26 PM

Did the Biden DOJ beg the judge to go easy on him like they did Montez Lee?

My mistake. That only happens if you are a BLM rioter and you burn a guy to death in his business

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Sep 7, 2023 12:46:58 PM

I do not like one but what Tarrio did. His "Don't f'in leave" Parler message says it all.

That said, I am concerned about the discrepancy in the enthusiasm of prosecution of Tarrio, versus that of Minneapolis BLM rioters, or of Hunter Biden for that matter.

I don't have a good answer for what to do about it, other than FBI/DOJ leadership needs to be replaced.

Posted by: William C Jockusch | Sep 7, 2023 11:33:00 PM

Doug's answer on the what to do about it: tough noogies.

Posted by: federalist | Sep 8, 2023 9:03:19 AM

Yet again, federalist, you misrepresent my views --- perhaps this time to distract from the foolishness of your prior claims that you shrink away from trying to write up in any rigorous way. I have said repeatedly that I am unaware of any viable Equal Protection Clause arguments that would block unrelated prosecutions on claims of FBI/DOJ bias, though I have also said lots of folks (myself included) would be eager to see you try to write up an alternative view in a rigorous way. (I also have noted that Congress has in the past investigated FBI/DOJ biases, and there is much Congress could and should do in response to biased federal law enforcement.)

I surmise you now find misrepresenting my views (behind a penname) much easier than trying to cogently explain yours --- which suggests you realize your feelings are not law, and that you feel a need to lash out when I seek to educate you on the actual law.

Posted by: Doug B | Sep 8, 2023 11:10:15 AM

I'm no lawyer, but I suspect that Doug is correct that the difference in prosecutorial enthusiasm will not be seen by the courts as a reason to set convictions aside.

I sense that the Doug/Fed dispute has become poisonous. I think that's unfortunate because it distracts from what I see as the problem.

The difference in prosecutorial enthusiasm is tyrannical. A challenge in responding to tyrannical actions is to avoid becoming tyrannical oneself. I would not want to give the J6 rioters a pass for what they did. Keeping that in mind, perhaps the best response is to replace FBI/DOJ leadership, and to take a hard look for, and prosecute, any crimes committed in the process of making these prosecutions, as well as the prosecutions of Trump and his associates.

We should also end absolute prosecutorial immunity. But that's been a badly-needed step for a long time.

Letting Lois Lerner get away with her tyrannical actions was an error. The mistake should not be repeated.

Posted by: William C Jockusch | Sep 8, 2023 4:43:28 PM

William, thanks for your comments, though I wonder what you think of claims by the BLM crowd that there has long been "tyrannical" prosecutorial enthusiasm to go after people of color for drug crimes but not others. Or of claims by many feminists that there has long been a "tyrannical" LACK OF prosecutorial enthusiasm to go after men who abuse women. Or of claims by some progressives that there has long been "tyrannical" prosecutorial enthusiasm to go after poor people.

I am not seeking to validate or endorse any of these claims of bias (and not asking you to do so); rather, I am just eager to stress (1) that concerns about law enforcement / prosecutorial biases have come from many quarters for many decades, and (2) that courts have largely rejected bias claims out of hand even in the face of potent data showing significant demographic disparities in the work of police and prosecutors.

Posted by: Doug B | Sep 9, 2023 11:47:31 AM

I get it. There are good reasons for the courts to ignore such claims. And in the case where "disparate impact" is considered, the result is a mess. Hence my desire for a restrained reaction.

Posted by: William C Jockusch | Sep 9, 2023 4:26:38 PM

"good reasons" means that the DOJ gets to pursue partisan political goals in picking and choosing defendants--it's a recipe for tyranny. And Doug, if you cannot see the turning of the criminal justice system into the law enforcement arm of the Democratic party, then it's hard to understand what you can see.

In a just world, Lois Lerner would have gotten LWOP.

Posted by: federalist | Sep 12, 2023 9:42:17 AM

I always see CJ/law enforcement efforts as reflecting the values and goals and biases of whomever is running CJ/law enforcement, federalist, which is among the reasons why I always want to subject CJ/law enforcement to many, many more limits and checks and balances, especially before it can put people cages for long periods of time.

And, as it may be worth adding, your concern is exactly what the Critical Legal Studies (CLS) movement has been preaching since the 1970s --- namely that any supposed neutral law and legal decision-making is always a form of politics that reflects the social and political biases of the law-makers and administrators. (And, as I trust you know, CRT is an off-shoot of CLS, which most CRT scholars worried was not sufficiently attentive to racial biases.)

Posted by: Doug B | Sep 12, 2023 11:28:14 AM

One reaction to the past abuses Doug mentioned above was to replace the people running the system. That would be appropriate here. But of course it's up to the voters. One hopes that because we are a democracy, the system will self correct. Maybe it will actually happen. Maybe it won't. Certainly the criticism is being made and is finding a receptive audience with some voters.

Posted by: William C Jockusch | Sep 12, 2023 10:12:25 PM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB