Former Proud Boys member Joseph Biggs has been sentenced to 17 years in prison for his involvement in a failed plot to keep Donald Trump in power after the 2020 presidential election. This sentencing is part of one of the most significant prosecutions related to the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Prosecutors had requested a sentence of at least 27 years for Biggs, who was an organizer for the far-right extremist group. However, Biggs argued that while he acknowledges his mistakes, he does not consider himself a terrorist.
A federal jury in Washington, D.C. found Biggs, along with three others, guilty of seditious conspiracy in May. The other defendants included Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, Ethan Nordean, and Zachary Rehl. They were also convicted of obstructing Congress's certification of Joe Biden's electoral victory, obstructing law enforcement, and two other conspiracy charges.
The backbone of the government's case against the Proud Boys was built upon hundreds of messages exchanged by the group leading up to January 6. These messages showed the group promoting Trump's false claims of a stolen election and expressing concerns about the consequences of Biden taking office.
Tarrio, although not present at the Capitol, encouraged the group through social media, stating, "Do what must be done." He also expressed pride for the events that unfolded and urged his followers to remain at the Capitol.
The attack on the Capitol resulted in the disruption of the joint session of Congress for certifying Biden's victory and forced lawmakers to flee. Over 1,100 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the attack, with more than 600 of them already sentenced.
The Justice Department has also recently charged Trump with conspiring to subvert American democracy, accusing him of plotting to overturn the election results before the attack. Trump, who faces four criminal indictments, has denied any wrongdoing.
The Proud Boys, a neo-fascist group known for engaging in street fights with left-wing activists, was founded about a decade ago by Canadian Gavin McInnes. Tarrio led the group during Trump's 2020 presidential debate with Biden when Trump infamously told them to "stand back and stand by."
Trump's trial for federal election interference is scheduled to begin on March 4, 2024.