WASHINGTON — A former organizer of the far-right Proud Boys extremist group was sentenced on Thursday to 17 years in prison for spearheading an attack on the U.S. Capitol to prevent the peaceful transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden after the 2020 presidential election.
The sentence for Joseph Biggs is the second longest among hundreds of Capitol riot cases so far, after the 18-year prison sentence for Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes.
Federal prosecutors had recommended a 33-year prison sentence for Biggs, who helped lead dozens of Proud Boys members and associates in marching to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Biggs and other Proud Boys joined the mob that broke through police lines and forced lawmakers to flee, disrupting the joint session of Congress for certifying the electoral victory by Biden, a Democrat.
U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly said the Jan. 6 attack trampled on an “important American custom,” certifying the Electoral College vote.
“That day broke our tradition of peacefully transferring power, which is among the most precious things that we had as Americans,” the judge said, emphasizing that he was using the past tense in light of how Jan. 6 affected the process.
Biggs acknowledged to the judge that he “messed up that day,” but he blamed being “seduced by the crowd” of Trump supporters outside the Capitol and said he's not a violent person or “a terrorist.”
“My curiosity got the…