A former leader of the far-right American group Proud Boys was sentenced to 18 years in prison on Friday for his role in the storming of the Capitol, one of the harshest sentences in the case, and another was sentenced to 10 years.
• Also read: Attack on the Capitol: 17 years in prison for the leader of a right-wing extremist group
• Also read: Attack on the Capitol: 18 years in prison for right-wing extremist leader Stewart Rhodes
Ethan Nordean’s sentence matches that of Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the far-right Oath Keepers militia, who received the longest sentence for the attack.
The 32-year-old was found guilty of conspiring against American institutions.
Mr. Nordean and Dominic Pezzola, 45, “conspired to prevent, obstruct and delay the certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s victory over outgoing President Donald Trump,” according to Washington District Attorney Matthew Graves’ office.
On January 6, 2021, thousands of Republican supporters gathered in Washington to denounce the results of the 2020 election. A crowd stormed the Capitol, the seat of the US Congress, triggering a global shockwave.
Ethan Nordean, nicknamed the head of the group’s “Ministry of Self-Defense,” handpicked Dominic Pezzola and other activists to take part in the attack on the Capitol, according to Matthew Graves.
Proud Boys leaders recruited people who would obey their orders and were “ready to use violence if necessary,” he said.
On the day of the attack, “Ethan Nordean, Dominic Pezzola and their leaders participated in each of the significant breaches at the Capitol,” he added.
Dominic Pezzola was specifically condemned for breaking a window at the Capitol, which “allowed the first rioters to enter the building.”
Before their sentencing, both men expressed remorse, with Ethan Nordean blaming his own leaders.
But on Friday, minutes after his fate was determined, Dominic Pezzola raised his fist and shouted “Trump won,” according to people in the room.
On Thursday, two other Proud Boys leaders were sentenced to 17 and 15 years in prison, respectively, for their involvement in the attack.
Since January 6, 2021, more than 1,100 people have been arrested and charged. More than half were convicted, the majority given prison sentences.