According to a report from NBC News, Joshua Pruitt, a 40 year old member of the far-right extremist group Proud Boys, was sentenced on Monday to 55 months in prison for his role in January 6, 2021 storming of the U.S. Capitol.
Pruitt was caught on video chasing police officers and smashing a sign inside the Capitol building. In June of this year, he pleaded guilty to obstruction of an official proceeding, namely Congress’ certification of Joe Biden’s presidential election victory.
Pruitt did say that he was “not happy that Jan. 6 happened at all,” but added that he still believes that former President Donald Trump won the 2020 election over Joe Biden, who he believes stole it from Trump.
Pruitt told the judge:
“I did believe the election was stolen. I still do. I broke the law, bottom line, regardless of whether I’m right or wrong on my feelings.”
Pruitt caused Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, and his security team to flee, as he came very close to them inside the Capitol.
A member of Schumer’s security team explained:
“Every day I enter the beacon of our country, the U.S. Capitol, I relive the memories of that day, and none are as impactful as the moments I saw Mr. Pruitt approaching us with the intent to inflict harm to the Majority Leader. It was only due to our teams’ preplanning of alternate evacuations procedures and quick actions that this impending meeting did not result in blood shed or serious bodily injury.”
The judge, Timothy Kelly, noted that it was “extremely troubling” that Pruitt expressed no regret for his actions during interviews before he pleaded guilty, saying:
“There was nothing patriotic about what happened that day, far from it. It was a national disgrace.”
A court-appointed attorney for Pruitt, Robert Lee Jenkins Jr. concurred with Judge Kelly that Pruitt’s role in the riot was fueled by alcohol and also noted that there was no convincing his client that the election wasn’t stolen, saying “We’ve had many conversations about it, and Mr. Pruitt is firm in his belief.” The attorney also noted that Pruitt’s family was “extremely dismayed” at his involvement in the riot.
Kelly and Jenkins both noted that Pruitt has an alcohol problem, though he refuses to admit it himself. A federal prosecutor said that Pruitt’s actions at the Capitol came about six hours after he admitted he was drinking Jack Daniels.