The sentences handed down to two leaders of the Proud Boys, Joseph Biggs and Zachary Rehl, are just two of 600 guilty verdicts the U.S. legal system has secured against those who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.*
With harsh sentences, the U.S. legal system has delivered the correct response to the violence perpetrated by far right extremist groups. While the 17 and 15-year sentences the judge imposed on Proud Boys leaders Joseph Biggs and Zachary Rehl respectively are shorter than those the prosecutors sought, the verdicts send a signal. Anyone who attacks democratic institutions, such as the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, attacks the will of all citizens.
Biggs and Rehl argued that Donald Trump had enticed them to act in the way they did. They said they believed that the election was stolen. Trump’s incitement may have played a role, but that does not excuse their own actions.
Now that the U.S. legal system has convicted more than 600* of the 1,100 thugs and Trump supporters charged in connection with the riot, it is essential the ideological instigator face trial. That is why the criminal cases facing the former president in Washington and Atlanta are so important.
*Editor’s Note: The precise number of people convicted and sentenced in connection with the attack on the Capitol could not be independently verified.