Enrique Tarrio, 39, was sentenced to 22 years in prison for orchestrating a failed plot to keep the former president in power – marking the longest sentence ever doled out in connection to the January 6 Capitol riot.
Before his sentence was handed down, the man who once led the neo-fascist gang gave a statement to the court where he begged for leniency from the judge.
Tarrio apologised for his actions, branded the Capitol riot a “national embarrassment” and vowed that his days of meddling in politics are over.
Then, in a shock move, he publicly denounced his false claims that the election was “stolen” from Mr Trump for the very first time.
“My candidate lost,” he admitted.
“What happened on January 6 was a national embarrassment… I do not think what happened that day was acceptable.”
Choking up with emotion, Tarrio said that he had let his family down with his actions as he begged the judge not to rob him of his 40s behind bars.
“I am not a political zealot. Inflicting harm or changing the results of the election was not my goal,” Tarrio said.
“Please show me mercy. I ask you that you not take my 40s from me.”
He added: “When I get back home I want nothing to do with politics, groups, activism or rallies… and when you walk out that door your honour, I won’t be saying anything other than that.”
But the admission came too late to save him from being hit with the longest prison sentence to date over the Capitol riot that resulted in five deaths and hundreds of law enforcement officers injured.
US District Judge Timothy Kelly said that Tarrio was the “ultimate leader” of the Proud Boys’ conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election in Mr Trump’s favour.
“I do think the evidence of Mr Tarrio’s leadership was, quite frankly, evident during trial,” the judge said.
“I do find the evidence shows that Mr Tarrio was on the top of the command structure with regard to the planning of the offence.”
“That day broke our previously unbroken tradition of peacefully transferring power,” he added.
Tarrio was among four members of the group convicted of seditious conspiracy and other crimes earlier this year following a four-month trial.
Tarrio, as the group’s leader, organised and directed a mob towards the US Capitol, where Proud Boys dismantled barricades and broke windows to breach the halls of Congress, then bragged about their actions on social media and in group chat messages that were later shared with jurors.
He served as a “naturally charismatic leader, a savvy propagandist, and the celebrity Chairman” of the group, wielding his influence over his subordinates and allies to “organize and execute the conspiracy to forcibly stop the peaceful democratic transfer of power” as lawmakers convened to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election, federal prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo.