Proud Boys leader Joe Biggs sentenced to 17 years in prison over Capitol riot involvement

Leader of the Proud Boys Enrique Tarrio (L) and rally organiser Joe Biggs (R) at a rally in 2019

Joe Biggs, a leader of far-right neo-fascist group the Proud Boys, has been handed a 17-year sentence for his involvement in the US Capitol riot. 

US army veteran and former Infowars correspondent Biggs was given his jail term by a judge on Thursday (31 August) for involvement in the storming of Congress on 6 January 2021 – following Donald Trump’s loss in the 2020 US election. 

He is among a number of key Proud Boys figures who have been convicted related to the events of 6 January. 

Biggs, 38, was handed a 17-year sentence by US District Judge Timothy Kelly, the second longest sentence amongst the hundreds of Capitol Riot cases currently being prosecuted. 

Only the 18 year sentence of Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes is longer. 

Also on Thursday, Proud Boys chapter leader Zachary Rehl – a former US Marine – was given a 15 year sentence, on a charge of seditious conspiracy after he was filmed spraying officers with a chemical substance during the riot.  

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In May 2023, Biggs was convicted on a number of different charges including seditious conspiracy, intimidation or threats to prevent officials from discharging their duties, and interference with law enforcement during civil disorder.

Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the US Capitol on 6 January, 2021 in Washington DC. (Brent Stirton/Getty Images)

Prosecutors in the case were seeking a 33-year sentence for Biggs, due to the leading role he played on the day. 

In handing him a sentence that is just over half of this, Judge Kelley said he was “not trying to minimise the violence” but expressed concern applying such a lengthy sentence would create disparities with other cases, the BBC reported.

On 6 January, alongside fellow Proud Boys members and other right-wing groups, Biggs marched on the Capitol building and was part of the mob who breached police and interrupted Congress’ joint session to certify Biden’s victory.

During his sentencing, however, Biggs was tearful and expressed remorse at his actions. 

Admitting he “messed up” and understanding that he needs to be punished but said he is “not a terrorist”. 

“I just moved forward. My curiosity got the better of me. I’m not a terrorist. I don’t have hate in my heart,” he told the court. 

Another Proud Boys member Enrique Tarrio – the former national chairman of the right-wing group – is set to be sentenced next week.

Since the events of 6 January 2021, more than 1,100 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Capitol riots, with around 600 being convicted and sentenced by courts.

A number of cases are ongoing.