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Ex-Proud Boys leader sentenced to 22 years for role in U.S. Capitol attack

A former leader of the right-wing Proud Boys group was sentenced on Tuesday to 22 years in prison for his role in the Jan 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump trying to overturn his election defeat.

Enrique Tarrio was given the longest sentence so far handed down in connection with the Jan. 6 riots despite not being present at the U.S. Capitol Building that day.

"This was a calculated act of terrorism," federal prosecutors said during a sentencing hearing in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. "He practiced, and he endorsed the use of misinformation."

Tarrio was convicted of seditious conspiracy, for his role in planning the storming of the Capitol, when thousands of supporters of the Republican then-U.S. president sought to stop Congress from certifying the results of an election that Trump falsely claimed had been tainted by widespread fraud.

Prosecutors had asked U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly to sentence Tarrio to 33 years behind bars, saying he helped direct the attack from Baltimore.

Tarrio's attorneys had asked for a substantially shorter sentence.

Kelly last week sentenced another far-right Proud Boys leader, Ethan Nordean, to 18 years, less than the 27 years prosecutors had sought. Oath Keepers militia founder Stewart Rhodes in May was also sentenced to 18 years.

More than 1,100 people have been arrested on charges related to the Capitol assault. At least 630 have pleaded guilty and at least 110 have been convicted at trial. Five people, including a police officer, died during or shortly after the riot and more than 140 police officers were injured. The Capitol suffered millions of dollars in damage.

Special Counsel Jack Smith, who was tapped to investigate broader efforts to overturn the 2020 election, has charged Trump, the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, for trying to keep himself in power.

© Thomson Reuters 2023.