WASHINGTON — Dominic Pezzola, a Proud Boy who smashed a Capitol window with a stolen police riot shield, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison on Friday.
Ethan Nordean, the former president of the Seattle Proud Boys chapter and one of Pezzola's co-defendants, was sentenced to 18 years in prison later Friday, tying the record for the longest Jan. 6 sentence to date. That record belongs to Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes who, like Nordean and other Proud Boys, was found guilty of seditious conspiracy.
Prosecutors had sought 27 years in prison for Nordean, who was also convicted on five other felony charges earlier this year.
Speaking to the court before being sentenced Nordean apologized for not being a more responsible leader of the men he commanded on Jan. 6 and said, “There is no excuse for what I did.”
“No matter how we all try to individually slice Jan. 6 we must conclude it was a complete and utter tragedy,” Nordean said. “It is my humble opinion that there is no rally or political protest that should ever hold value over human life.”
U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly handed down Pezzola's and Nordean's sentences. On Thursday, he gave two other Proud Boys prison terms of roughly half of what prosecutors sought. Joe Biggs, a former InfoWars correspondent, was sentenced to 17 years in federal prison Thursday, and Zach Rehl, a Philadelphia Proud Boy who was found to have pepper-sprayed officers, was sentenced to 15 years.
Pezzola took the stand in his own defense at trial in April, calling the charges against him "fake" and bringing up conspiracy theories about Ray Epps, a Jan. 6 participant who has not yet been charged.
Extensive video evidence documented Pezzola's actions at the Capitol on Jan. 6, including a video he filmed inside after leading the breach. He was found guilty of assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers, as well as stealing the police shield and other charges in May.
“Knew we could take this motherf----- over if we just tried hard enough,” he said in his own Jan. 6 video.
Prosecutors said he "acted as a soldier in the civil war he had envisioned" on Jan. 6.
"Pezzola’s actions showed beyond a shadow of a doubt that he had intended to influence or affect the conduct of government by intimidation or coercion, or to retaliate against government conduct," prosecutors wrote. "While sparring with police who were trying to quell the mob’s advance, Pezzola robbed an officer of his riot shield. Rather than taking actions consistent with his self-professed motive of self-defense, Pezzola celebrated, posing with the shield while flashing the Proud Boys hand gesture, and chanting 'USA! USA!' While holding the shield above his head triumphantly."
“It boggles my mind,” Kelly said of Pezzola’s actions during the riot, including smashing the window and filming a video of himself taking a “victory smoke” in the Capitol crypt.
During Friday's hearing, Pezzola’s longtime partner, Lisa Magee, reiterated what she said on the stand at trial: that Pezzola was “a f---ing idiot.” She said her daughters have had to suffer, and have been bullied at home due to their father’s actions.
Magee, who testified that Pezzola was getting drunk and watching Fox News before Jan. 6, said that she’d already canceled cable news at their home. “I truly believe if he could go back and change ... that day that he would," she said.
Magee and Pezzola's mother both spoke before the court through tears and Pezzola could be seen holding his head in his hands and wiping away tears with a tissue while they spoke. His 19-year-old daughter remained stoic during her statement, telling Kelly about the positive impact her father has had on her life.
“I am everything good that my father has done that you have not seen,” she said.
Prior to his sentencing, Pezzola told the judge, “I stand before you today as a changed and humble man. I have never denied what I did on J6.”
“This was the worst, most regrettable decision in my life and I’m truly sorry,” he said, promising that he would never again do anything that would land him in a courtroom.
While being led out of the courtroom after Kelly had departed, Pezzola turned towards the audience, raised one fist and shouted, “Trump won!”
Another Jan. 6 participant, Danny Rodriguez, also yelled “Trump won!” after he was sentenced to 12.5 years in June for driving a stun gun into former Washington, D.C. police officer Michael Fanone’s neck.