A Proud Boys militia leader was hit with an 18-year prison sentence and a second was given 10 years Friday for joining the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol by Donald Trump’s supporters.
The punishment for Ethan Nordean, 32, matched the longest sentence yet in Capitol attack cases, underscoring the seriousness of the charge he was convicted of, seditious conspiracy.
Dominic Pezzola, 45, who was convicted on lesser charges including obstructing Congress, was handed the 10-year sentence.
The sentences meted out by Washington federal district Judge Timothy Kelly came a day after two other Proud Boys, Joe Biggs and Zachary Rehl, earned 17- and 15-year terms for sedition for their roles in the Capitol attack.
Kelly repeated his admonishment Friday that the Proud Boys had broken the US tradition of a peaceful democratic transfer of power when they attempted to prevent Joe Biden from being confirmed as victor in the November 2020 presidential election.
They were acting on the false claim, promoted by Trump himself, that the Republican had lost the election due to massive voting fraud.
Just over two weeks before January 6, the Proud Boys “conspired to prevent, hinder, and delay the certification of the Electoral College vote and to oppose by force the authority of the government of the United States,” the Justice Department said in a statement.
Both Nordean and Pezzola expressed remorse before the sentencing, with Nordean – dubbed a head of the Proud Boys’ “Ministry of Self-Defense” – faulting his own leadership.
But minutes after being sentenced, Pezzola raised his fist and declared “Trump won,” according to witnesses in the courtroom.
Nordean’s sentence matched that given in May to Stewart Rhodes, the founder of another far-right militia central to the Capitol siege, the Oath Keepers.
It came ahead of the sentencing next Tuesday of Proud Boys national chairman Enrique Tarrio, who organized the group to go to Washington but was not at the Capitol himself because, due to a previous conviction, he was banned entering from the city.