Cousins who stormed US Capitol on 6 January get longer jail terms than prosecution asked for

The family members are the 16th and 17th sentenced in connection to the riot

Justin Vallejo
New York
Thursday 14 October 2021 19:15 BST
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A federal judge threw the book at a pair of cousins who pleaded guilty to entering the US Capitol on 6 January, sentencing them to jail time longer than what the prosecution recommended in return for their guilty plea.

Prosecutors dropped more serious charges against Robert Bauer and Edward Hemenway as part of a deal to plead guilty to the misdemeanour of parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.

But instead of the 30 days in jail and $500 in fines recommended by the Department of Justice, the US District Judge Tanya Chutkan ordered the family rioters to 45 days behind bars, plus fines and community service.

It is the third time Judge Chutkan has sentenced a Capitol rioter above the government’s recommendation. She ordered Dona Sue Bissey to 14 days in prison despite prosecutors asking for probation, and gave Matthew Mazzocco prison time despite the recommendation of home confinement.

Mr Bauer and Mr Hemenway were the 16th and 17th rioters sentenced so far. With more than 600 still facing criminal charges, sentences beyond recommendations by prosecutors will be closely watched by other defendants considering plea deals.

Assistant US Attorney Elizabeth Kelley told the court that despite rioters taking responsibility for their actions, they were aware of "do not enter" signs at the Capitol.

"Each rioter’s actions, from the most mundane to the most violent, contributed to the violence and destruction at the Capitol on January 6," Ms Kelley told the judge, according to The Courier-Journal.

Ms Kelley said Mr Bauer claimed he was swept up in the crowd, but that he chose to stay at the Capitol despite having opportunities to leave.

According to the FBI criminal complaint, Mr Bauer told police he entered the building out of stupidity and curiosity, while Mr Hemenway told authorities he intended only to "occupy the space".

"Bauer explained that people in the crowd were angry about paedophiles, the news cycle, and losing their businesses during the lockdown," the complaint said.

The pair’s criminal records factored into the sentencing decision. Mr Hemenway served prison time for sexual battery in 2006, while Mr Bauer has drug convictions from 1999.

The court heard the pair had turned their life around since those convictions, but that after the Capitol riot Mr Bauer was fired from his job while Mr Hemenway will need to sell his possessions to pay the bills while serving jail time.

“The sad part is we weren’t even really 100 per cent Trump supporters. We weren’t really that into the guy. We thought we would go to the rally on the way to the airport,” Mr Hemenway said, according to Courthouse News Service. “I certainly did not plan on being part of a mob. … I am very disappointed in myself.”

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