On Tuesday, the first Jan 6 rioter to be sentenced for their involvement in the assault on the US Capitol was handed a ten-year prison term. Louis Capriotti, 59, was found guilty of numerous charges – including civil disorder, obstruction of Congress, and entering restricted property – and is the second Capitol riot participant to be sentenced in D.C.
Incident at Capitol
At the early morning hours of January 6th, Capriotti joined a group of Donald Trump supporters at the Capitol building. After breaching the Capitol grounds, the mob attempted to stopped Congress’ affirmation of Joe Biden’s presidential victory and mostly succeeded until law enforcement arrived to restore order.
Nine members of the Capitol Police force were injured in the attack, and 120 arrests were made.
Capriotti had skipped his sentencing hearing twice prior to Tuesday. He did not appear at the initial hearing in September, a month after his pleaded guilty, claiming that his passport had been lost. Judge Timothy Kelly was not convinced by this excuse and denied Capriotti’s legal request of a delay.
Capriotti did appear at the hearing on October 15th, though his lawyers asked for a delay, claiming his mental preparedness was lacking. The hearing was resumed two weeks later on Tuesday with Capriotti appearing in court to hear his sentence.
Judge Kelly issued a ten-year sentence for Capriotti — an unusually severe punishment for an incident which did not end in casualties. The sentence was based on Capriotti’s previous convictions, and in Judge Kelly’s words, it should “send a signal” to the public that the Jan 6th attack on the Capitol “will have dire consequences for anyone who would attempt something lash”.
Louis Capriotti is the second Capitol rioter according to be sentenced for his actions on January 6th. As the first rioter to receive a prison sentence, he serves as a stark reminder of the consequences that people face for participating in a violent mob.
Given the massive scope of the Jan 6th attack, one can expect more sentences to follow, though it remains to be seen if the courts will show leniency towards the remaining rioters.