In a significant ruling, Joe Biggs, a prominent figure within the Proud Boys organization, has been sentenced to 17 years in federal prison for his involvement in the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. This sentence stands among the longest handed down in cases related to the Capitol riot. The sentencing was carried out by U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly, who previously determined that Biggs tearing down a fence during the riot qualified for a terrorism sentencing enhancement, a decision that played a pivotal role in the sentencing length.
Biggs, described by prosecutors as an “instigator and leader” during the attack, was convicted of seditious conspiracy, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to use force against officers, interference with law enforcement, and destruction of government property. Prosecutors contended that his actions and influence within the Proud Boys organization contributed to the group’s shift towards political violence and its role in disrupting the electoral vote count.
His defense lawyer, Norm Pattis, acknowledged Biggs’ involvement in some criminal acts on that fateful day but argued that the crimes had been exaggerated. Pattis maintained that while the actions of the Proud Boys escalated to violence during the riot, they were initially engaged in “quintessential political behavior.”
The government had sought a 33-year sentence for Biggs, citing his military background and public profile as factors that exacerbated his role in the attack. While Judge Kelly applied a terrorism enhancement to Biggs’ sentencing, he also remarked that it “overstates” Biggs’ conduct. Addressing Biggs, Judge Kelly highlighted the gravity of the events of January 6th, stating that they disrupted an essential American tradition of peacefully transferring power, a hallmark of the nation’s democracy.
This sentencing is part of a series of legal actions against individuals involved in the January 6th attack. The Proud Boys’ influence and tactics were central during the trial, with Biggs’ case unfolding alongside those of other prominent figures within the group, including Enrique Tarrio, Ethan Nordean, Zachary Rehl, and Dominic Pezzola. All five were convicted of felonies, and most were convicted of seditious conspiracy.