A former leader of the far-right Proud Boys extremist group was sentenced on Thursday to 15 years in prison for spearheading an attack on the U.S. Capitol to try to prevent the peaceful transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden after the 2020 presidential election.
Zachary Rehl was seen on video spraying a chemical irritant at law enforcement officers outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, but he repeatedly lied about that assault while he testified at his trial, federal prosecutors said.
Prosecutors had recommended a 30-year prison sentence for Rehl, who helped lead dozens of Proud Boys members and associates in marching to the Capitol on Jan. 6. Rehl and other Proud Boys joined the mob that broke through police lines and forced lawmakers to flee, disrupting the joint session of Congress for certifying the electoral victory by Biden, a Democrat.
The judge who sentenced Rehl also on Thursday sentenced Proud Boys organizer Joseph Biggs to 17 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly will separately sentence three other Proud Boys who were convicted by a jury in May after a four-month trial in Washington that laid bare far-right extremists’ embrace of lies by Trump, a Republican, that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
Enrique Tarrio, a Miami resident who was the Proud Boys’ national chairman and top leader, is scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday. His sentencing was moved from Wednesday to next week because U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly was sick.
Read more on FRANCE 24 English
US militia leader sentenced to 18 years in prison for Jan. 6 Capitol riot
Capitol attack: Four far-right Proud Boys convicted of 'seditious conspiracy'
Four Oath Keepers convicted of seditious conspiracy in Jan 6 trial