Proud Boys leader Joe Biggs sentenced to 17 years for US Capitol riot

They are planning to appeal against the conviction

Proud-Boys-Joe-Biggs-conviction-ap (File) Proud Boys organizer Joseph Biggs walks from the George C. Young Federal Annex Courthouse in Orlando, after a court hearing regarding his involvement in riot at the US Capitol | AP

In connection with the United States Captiol riot, a leader of the far-right Proud Boys has been sentenced to 17 years in prison.

US Army veteran Joe Biggs, 38, an ‘investigator”, was sentenced for the involvement in the riots on January 6, 2021.

He was convicted of seditious conspiracy and other charges in May. In court, Biggs pleaded for leniency and expressed regret over his actions.

US District Judge Timothy Kelly had handed down the sentence.

Also on charges of seditious conspiracy, another Proud Boys member, Zachary Rehl, was sentenced on Thursday to 15 years. Prosecutors had sought a 33-year sentence in the riot case.

In a video, Rehl, a former US Marine and leader of the Philadelphia branch of the Proud Boys, was seen spraying a chemical irritant at officers outside the Capitol during the riot.

Biggs was charged with crimes including intimidation or threats to prevent officials from discharging their duties and interference with law enforcement during civil disorder, reported BBC.

"Biggs, a veteran of the war in Iraq...employed his military experience to direct and control large groups of men under his revolt against the government," read the sentencing memo.

"Biggs viewed himself and his movement as a second American revolution where he and the other 'patriots' would retake the government by force," it read.

During the trial, Biggs had said that he was influenced by the crowd during the riot. "I just moved forward...My curiosity got the better of me...I'm not a terrorist...I don't have hate in my heart," said Biggs.

Proud Boys are planning to appeal against the conviction. Biggs went along with four others on trial related to the riots case. Earlier, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes was sentenced to 18 years in prison in May.

Federal prosecutor Jason McCullough said that the crimes were "very serious" and that a stiff sentence would send a strong message ahead of the presidential election. "They pushed this to the edge of a constitutional crisis," he said.

On August, over 1,100 people had been arrested on charges related to the riot. As many as 110 were convicted in connection with the case.

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