A Maryland man associated with the far-right Proud Boys extremist group was sentenced on Monday to a lot more than four years in prison for storming the U.S. Capitol, where he encountered Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer as his armed security detail led the brand new York Democrat to safety.
Joshua Pruitt was mostly of the Capitol rioters ahead face-to-face with an associate of Congress through the Jan. 6, 2021, attack by way of a mob of Donald Trump supporters, in accordance with federal prosecutors.
One look at Pruitt, and the first choice of Senator Schumers security detail immediately saw the threat and hustled the 70-year-old senator down a hallway, needing to change their evacuation route on a dime, Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexis Loeb wrote in a court filing before Mondays hearing.
U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly sentenced Mr. Pruitt to four years and seven months of imprisonment accompanied by 3 years of supervised release, in accordance with Bill Miller, spokesman for the U.S. Attorneys office for the District of Columbia.
Prosecutors had recommended a five-year prison sentence for Mr. Pruitt, a Silver Spring, Maryland, resident who spent some time working as a bartender and fitness expert. They described him being an aspiring Proud Boys member whose intimidating figure made him a perfect recruit for the group on Jan. 6.
The first choice of Mr. Schumers security detail told the FBI that their encounter with Mr. Pruitt was a harrowing, unforgettable moment. Mr. Pruitt was advancing and only seconds from reaching Mr. Schumer once the security detail turned and ran with the senator from an elevator and back off a ramp, detail members said.
By the end of the ramp, officers closed and locked the doors. The security detail and [Mr. Schumer] pursued a second evacuation route. After the doors were being closed, Mr. Pruitt turned around and retraced his steps, Ms. Loeb wrote.
Mr. Pruitt along with other prospects and recruits of the neighborhood Proud Boys chapter often used encrypted communications to go over storming the Capitol, civil war, and confrontations with police, in accordance with prosecutors. They said Mr. Pruitt wished to stop Congress from certifying the Electoral College vote on Jan. 6.
He personally forced a 70-year-old Senator to perform and discover another way to safety. Among all of the rioters who stormed the Capitol, this is a notorious distinction, Ms. Loeb wrote.
Defense attorney Robert Jenkins Jr. said Mr. Pruitt saw the security detail but didnt recognize Mr. Schumer, now Senate Majority Leader, during the encounter.
Its much less though that Mr. Pruitt ran toward the detail or made any threatening posture toward them. He pointed out that these were there. They transpired a hallway. Mr. Pruitt went in another direction, Mr. Jenkins said following the sentencing hearing.
Mr. Jenkins had sought a three-year prison sentence for Mr. Pruitt. The defense lawyer said he believes the 55-month sentence is disproportionately greater than other Capitol rioter cases, considering that Mr. Pruitt wasnt armed and didnt assault any cops.
A lot more than 240 riot defendants have already been sentenced, mostly for misdemeanor offenses. Only four of these have obtained longer prison sentences than Mr. Pruitt, and all of those have been convicted of assaulting or obstructing police officers.
He thought that the court will be a lot more lenient on him, Mr. Jenkins added.
Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes founded the Proud Boys in 2016. Prior to the Capitol riot, the group was most widely known for street brawls with antifascist activists at rallies and protests.
A large number of Proud Boys leaders, members, and associates have already been charged with Capitol riot-related crimes. Some have already been charged with seditious conspiracy for what authorities say was a plot to forcibly oppose the lawful transfer of presidential power.
Prosecutors called Mr. Pruitt a one-man symbol of the angry mob at the Capitol that day. Most of the cops guarding the Capitol on Jan. 6 remembered him being an instigator, in accordance with prosecutors.
Wearing a tactical glove with knuckle pads and a cut-off t-shirt with the logo of the Punisher an antihero known for dispensing violent vigilante justice Mr. Pruitt made a calculated choice to utilize his thickly muscled appearance to communicate to the authorities they faced a dangerous person, Ms. Loeb wrote.
Mr. Pruitt was on probation and wearing an ankle monitor on your day of the riot. He initially was arrested on the night time of Jan. 6 for violating a curfew imposed by the mayor of Washington, D.C. He’s got been jailed since a judge ordered his pretrial detention in January 2022.
Mr. Pruitt pleaded guilty in June to a felony charge of obstruction of the official proceeding, the joint session of Congress for certifying President Joe Bidens victory over Mr. Trump, the Republican incumbent.
This story was reported by The Associated Press.