FACT CHECK: Was Zachary Rehl Sentenced To 15 Years In Prison For Seditious Conspiracy?
A post shared on X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter, purports Proud Boys leader Zachary Rehl was sentenced to 15 years in prison for seditious conspiracy as a result of the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Zachary Rehl, another Proud Boys leader, sentenced to 15 years in prison in Jan. 6 seditious conspiracy case
— BNO News (@BNONews) August 31, 2023
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a press release on Aug. 31 stating Rehl had been sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in the Jan. 6 attack.
Dominic Pezzola, a member of the far-right group the Proud Boys, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Sept. 1 for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to Reuters. Leader Enrique Tarrio was sentenced to 22 years in prison, the longest for any defendant involved in the riots, CNN reported.
“Zachary Rehl, another Proud Boys leader, sentenced to 15 years in prison in Jan. 6 seditious conspiracy case,” the X post, viewed over 50,000 times, purports.
The claim is true. In an Aug. 31 press release, the DOJ stated Rehl had been sentenced to 15 years in prison and 36 months of supervised release. Along with fellow Proud Boys leader Joseph Biggs, Rehl was convicted of multiple felonies, including seditious conspiracy and conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, the same release indicated. Both Rehl, who is from Pennsylvania, and Biggs, who is from Florida, served as members of a special chapter of the Proud Boys called the “Ministry of Self Defense,” according to the DOJ.
“Beginning after Dec. 19, 2020, Biggs and Rehl, all of whom were leaders or members of the Ministry of Self-Defense, conspired to prevent, hinder, and delay the certification of the Electoral College vote and to oppose by force the authority of the government of the United States,” the release reads in part.
“In the days leading to January 6th, Biggs, Rehl, and co-defendants Henry ‘Enrique’ Tarrio and Ethan Nordean hand-selected co-defendant Dominic Pezzola and others known as ‘rally boys’ to participate in the attack on the Capitol that day. This group established a chain of command, chose a time and place for their attack, and intentionally recruited others who would follow their top-down leadership and who were prepared to engage in physical violence if necessary,” it continues.
In addition, Rehl sprayed an officer in the face and made social media posts about his role in the attack, the DOJ said.
Prior to sentencing, prosecutors recommended Rehl receive 30 years in jail for his actions, PhillyVoice reported. U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly did not apply the terrorism enhancement that would have given Rehl a longer prison sentence, however, according to Reuters. Kelly rejected the enhancement, saying it “overstates the conduct at issue,” the outlet indicated. (RELATED: Marjorie Taylor Greene Says Jack Smith Only Targets Republicans)
Despite receiving a shorter sentence than what prosecutors originally sought, Rehl and Biggs have still received some of the longest sentences among those charged in the Jan. 6 attack, the National News reported.
Besides seditious conspiracy and conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, Rehl was charged with Destruction of Government Property and Aiding and Abetting, Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building or Grounds, and Disorderly Conduct in a Restricted Building or Grounds, according to the DOJ.
Check Your Fact has contacted the DOJ and three criminal law experts for comment and will update this piece accordingly if one is received.