A member of the Proud Boys extremist group sentenced to a decade behind bars after using a stolen riot shield to smash a window of the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6 remained defiant as he was being led out of the courtroom — despite tearfully insisting just moments earlier that he was sorry for his actions.
“Trump won!” Dominic Pezzola reportedly shouted after receiving a sentence of 10 years behind bars on Friday for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. Pezzola was seen using a stolen police shield to break into the Capitol and was one of the first to breach the building shortly after Congress had begun to certify Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory over Donald Trump.
According to courtroom reports, the outburst happened as Pezzola was walking out of the room.
NOW: As Pezzola walks out of the courtroom, he pumps his fist in the ar and shouts “Trump won!”
— Brandi Buchman (@Brandi_Buchman) September 1, 2023
Before receiving his sentence, however, Pezzola, 45, was apparently putting up the appearance of a very sorry man. He reportedly took responsibility for his actions at the Capitol that day and also apologized directly to Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason McCullough for the sharp exchanges they had during the trial.
“I stand before you with a heart full of regret,” said Pezzola, after reportedly proclaiming that there is “no place” for politics in his future “whatsoever.”
The defendant also pleaded with U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly, a Trump appointee, for a “second chance” and was seen sobbing as his 19-year-old daughter spoke on his behalf.
Pezzola was convicted in May of multiple felony counts in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. Unlike his co-defendants, including Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, Pezzola was not convicted of seditious conspiracy. Kelly did, however, describe Pezzola as the “tip of the spear” for his actions that ultimately allowed thousands of rioters to stream into the building as Congress had begun to certify Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral win.
Pezzola’s shoutout to the former president follows in the footsteps of another notable Jan. 6 defendant: D.J. Rodriguez shouted the same thing after being sentenced to more than 12 years in prison in June for obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress and other charges.
It is too soon to tell if Kelly will come to regret his sentence, as some of his colleagues on the bench have done after seeing some Jan. 6 defendants fail to maintain the apparent remorse they claim to have felt prior to sentencing.
Also Friday, top-ranking Proud Boys member Ethan Nordean, 32, received a significant sentence on Friday, almost double that of his co-defendant. Kelly, a Trump appointee, determined that Nordean will spend 18 years behind bars. That sentence matches what had, until Friday, been the longest sentence so far in Jan. 6 cases.
Pezzola and Nordean’s co-defendant Joseph Biggs was sentenced to 17 years behind bars for his role in the conspiracy on Thursday, while Zachary Rehl received 15 years.
Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio is set to be sentenced on Tuesday.
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