A Proud Boys recruit was sentenced Monday to 55 months in prison for his role in the storming of the U.S. Capitol last year.
According to the Justice Department, former Washington, D.C. bartender Joshua Pruitt, 40, came within seconds of Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) while rampaging through the building. Schumer and his detail were forced to race down a ramp and shut the double doors behind them to avoid an attack, officials said in a statement.
Pruitt pleaded guilty to felony obstruction of an official proceeding. He was caught on video participating in a mob that chased police officers and destroyed a large sign inside the Capitol, actions prosecutors argued were intended to further incite the crowd, CNN reported.
“You were at the forefront of that mob,” judge Timothy Kelly said before handing down his sentence. Kelly called the riot a “national disgrace,” per NBC News, and said Pruitt and the mob’s actions that day “snapped our previously unbroken tradition of the peaceful transition of power.”
Two Capitol police officers who were injured in the attack wrote victim impact statements calling for the judge to impose a severe sentence.
Pruitt participated in a Proud Boys message site in which members planned to march to the Capitol and use violence in stop the certification of electoral votes in the 2020 presidential election lost by Donald Trump, prosecutors said.
“Their plans were not limited to fighting Antifa; they anticipated going to the Capitol to stop the certification of the election and confronting police who might try to stand in their way,” prosecutors said in court documents.
Pruitt, a Proud Boys recruit at the time of the insurrection, was inducted into the violent organization two weeks later on President Joe Biden’s inauguration day, CNN noted.
Before he was sentenced, Pruitt said he still thinks the election was stolen.
“I did believe the election was stolen. I still do,” Pruitt said, per NBC News.
“I broke the law, bottom line, regardless of whether I’m right or wrong on my feelings,” he added.