Enrique Tarrio, the former head of the Proud Boys, has been handed a substantial 22-year prison sentence. He was convicted on charges of seditious conspiracy and leading an unsuccessful scheme to obstruct the peaceful transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden. Notably, this sentence, delivered by District Judge Timothy Kelly, represents the most extensive penalty imposed on any defendant linked to the January 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol.
During the sentencing, Tarrio stood by a podium at the front of the courtroom, lowering his head as the judge delivered the verdict. In the preceding week, three other senior members of the Proud Boys leadership were also found guilty of seditious conspiracy and received their sentences. Judge Kelly made it clear in his remarks, stating, “The jury did not convict anyone of politics, it convicted Mr. Tarrio and others of seditious conspiracy. I have no indication that he is remorseful about the actual things that he has been convicted of, which are seditious conspiracy and conspiracy to obstruct the counting of electoral votes.”
Enrique Tarrio played a pivotal role in assembling and organizing hundreds of Proud Boys from various parts of the country. This group acted as a vanguard during the events of January 6, 2021, when a mob of Trump supporters descended on the Capitol. Members of the Proud Boys were involved in nearly every instance of breaching police lines on that day. One such member, Dominic Pezzola, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his involvement in breaking into the Capitol.
Interestingly, Tarrio was not physically present at the Capitol during the January 6 events. He had been arrested upon his arrival in Washington on January 4, 2021, for his role in the theft and burning of a Black Lives Matter flag from a church during an earlier pro-Trump march. Tarrio was subsequently released the following day and ordered to leave Washington, D.C. He then traveled with a group of associates to a hotel in Baltimore.
Sabino Jauregui, Enrique Tarrio’s attorney, expressed the intention to appeal the sentence, stating, “We do not agree with the sentence but we respect the judge’s decision, and now we will focus on the appeal.” Defense attorneys leaving the court discussed factors they believed had influenced the trial’s outcome. They noted, “A lot of evidence that was very damaging to our client; evidence that did not even have to do with our client.”
During the trial, testimonies from Tarrio’s mother, sister, and girlfriend were heard, each requesting leniency. Tarrio himself had an opportunity to speak, appealing to the judge for mercy. He expressed remorse, stating, “To the men and women of the law who responded that day: ‘I’m sorry.’ I have always tried to hold myself to a higher standard and I failed (…) I failed miserably (…) I believed myself morally above others and this trial has humbled me.”
Prosecutors in the trial referred to Tarrio and the other defendants as “right-wing foot soldiers,”
making their case to the 16-person jury that despite Tarrio being physically absent from Washington, he maintained communication with other leaders and coordinated the events of January 6.