On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Carl Nichols sentenced Proud Boy Joseph Biggs to 3 1/2 years in federal prison for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The sentence comes after Biggs pleaded guilty in October to three counts of obstruction of an official proceeding and one count of entering a restricted building.
Biggs is the first Proud Boy to admit his role in the attack and cooperate with prosecutors.
Biggs, who is 37, was the tallest of the pro-Trump rioters who invaded the Capitol, and he was seen wearing a Camp Auschwitz hoodie that day.
In addition to the prison sentence, the judge also placed Biggs on three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay full restitution for the damages caused by the rioters.
In his plea, Biggs said that he was part of a “large, organized crowd” that sought to stop Congress from certifying the election of Joe Biden as President of the United States.
The prosecutor noted that Biggs was an “instigator and leader” of the crowd and was “clearly present as a leader.”
On the day of the attack, Biggs allegedly entered the Capitol with a group of Proud Boys and was heard shouting “let’s take this [expletive] over.”
Biggs said the phrase was in the context of his support for President Donald Trump’s false claims of electoral fraud, and not a call to storm the building.
In a statement read by his attorney, Biggs expressed remorse for his actions and blamed himself for not doing more to prevent the violence.
“I’m embarrassed, ashamed, and deeply sorry for my actions,” he said, according to The Washington Post. “I realize now that the moment called for all of us to prayerfully and peacefully protest, but instead I chose violence.”
The sentencing of Biggs is just the latest of several cases related to the attack on the Capitol.
More than 435 people have been charged in the attack, and at least three dozen of those charged are associated with the far-right extremist group the Proud Boys.
Biggs’ case is also a cautionary tale for those who may be tempted to participate in similar acts of insurrection.
The judge noted in his sentencing statement that it was only due to Biggs’ cooperation with prosecutors and his willingness to express remorse that he was given a lighter sentence than what he could have faced.
At the end of the day, Judge Nichols said, “Violence is never the answer. It is not a substitute for protests or for rhetoric. It only serves to undermine democracy and the rule of law.”
The sentencing of Biggs serves as a reminder that any individual who engages in insurrection will be held accountable.