(GoRealNewsNow.com) – A federal judge has issued a 14-year prison sentence to a person who participated in the January 6, 2021, events at the US Capitol, the longest term for any participant in the breach so far.
49-year-old Peter Schwartz, a welder from Uniontown, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to 14 years and two months in prison by federal judge Amit Mehta, NBC News reported.
Prosecutors believe Schwartz was the first to throw a folding chair at Capitol Police officers protecting the Lower West Terrace.
Schwartz has 38 prior convictions. He declared he regretted any damage caused during January 6 events at the US Capitol.
“I do sincerely regret the damage that January 6th has done to so many people and their lives,” the defendant stated.
He was convicted in December 2022. Besides the lengthy prison term, his sentence includes 36 months of supervised release and a $2,000 restitution payment to the Architect of the Capitol.
“You are not a political prisoner, Mr. Schwartz. You are not Alexei Navalny,” the judge told Schwartz, referring to the jailed opposition leader in Putin’s Russia.
Biden’s Justice Department had requested 24.5 years in federal prison for the Pennsylvania welder, but Mehta called that “pretty dramatic.”
“By throwing that chair, Schwartz directly contributed to the fall of the police line that enabled rioters to flood forward and take over the entire terrace,” the prosecution wrote in a sentencing memo.
The prosecutors added the defendant then used “chemical munitions,” such as pepper spray, abandoned by fleeing officers to attack the police who “desperately tried to escape the growing and increasingly violent mob.”
Schwartz then reached a tunnel entrance where he pepper-sprayed Capitol officers together with two other co-defendants, Jeffrey Brown, and Makrus Maly. Last week, Brown received 4.5 years in prison. Maly’s sentence is yet to be announced.
“[Schwartz has] demonstrated zero remorse for his conduct, giving repeated interviews from the DC Jail claiming that he is a completely innocent victim of a biased prosecution and has done nothing wrong,” the US Justice Department wrote in a release.
Federal prosecutors also wanted a confiscation of $71,541, the sum that Schwartz raised on a crowdfunding platform under a campaign entitled “Patriot Pete Political Prisoner in DC.” The judge rejected the fine motion.
In their sentencing memo, the defendant’s lawyers wrote that their client’s actions during the January 2021 events at the US Capitol “were not motivated by any desire for personal financial gain or any other type of benefit.”
Instead, they insisted their client was motivated “by a misunderstanding as to the facts surrounding the 2020 election.”
“[Schwartz] knew next to nothing about the 2020 election and listened to sources of information that were clearly false,” the lawyers argued.
What is your reaction to the prison sentence? Please share your opinion by emailing [email protected]. Thank you.