Isreal Easterday was 19 years previous when he joined a mob of Donald Trump supporters in invading the Capitol. He used pepper spray to assault two Capitol law enforcement officials who have been individually guarding the East Rotunda Doors.

FILE – Violent insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump breach the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Jan. 6, 2021. Isreal Easterday, a Kentucky man who stormed the U.S. Capitol on the age of 19 whereas carrying a Confederate battle flag, has been sentenced to greater than two years in jail for pepper spraying two law enforcement officials within the face. Chief Judge James Boasberg cited Easterday’s youth as a cause for sentencing him to 2 years and 6 months, 5 occasions decrease than the Justice Department’s preliminary sentencing advice of 12 years and 7 months. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)(AP/John Minchillo)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Kentucky man who stormed the U.S. Capitol whereas carrying a Confederate battle flag was sentenced on Monday to greater than two years in jail for pepper spraying two law enforcement officials within the face, partially blinding them for hours in the course of the Jan. 6, 2021, riot.

Isreal Easterday was 19 years previous when he joined a mob of Donald Trump supporters in invading the Capitol. He used pepper spray to assault two Capitol law enforcement officials who have been individually guarding the East Rotunda Doors.

Chief Judge James Boasberg cited Easterday’s youth as a cause for handing down a jail time period — two years and 6 months — that was over 5 occasions decrease than the Justice Department’s preliminary sentencing advice.

The choose stated Easterday, who was homeschooled by his mom whereas residing on a household farm, “might not have absolutely appreciated what was occurring there” on the Capitol on Jan. 6 or acknowledged that the Confederate flag is a “image of rise up.”

“January sixth was a minimum of an intent and an effort to switch by drive who our nation had voted for,” Boasberg stated. “The mob was there as a result of it hadn’t achieved what it wished to on the poll field.”

Easterday tearfully apologized to the officers whom he assaulted. He stated he accepts duty for his actions on Jan. 6 and is “deeply ashamed” of himself.

At the conclusion of the listening to, Boasberg ordered Easterday to be detained to right away start serving his sentence. Some of Easterday’s supporters embraced one another as he was led out of the courtroom.

“I can’t allow you to down,” Easterday advised the choose after studying his sentence.

Prosecutors initially beneficial sentencing Easterday to 12 years and 7 months in jail. During the listening to, a prosecutor advocated for a sentence of 11 years and three months to mirror the court docket’s decrease calculation of sentencing pointers.

“With the 2024 presidential election approaching and lots of loud voices within the media and on-line persevering with to sow discord and mistrust, the potential for a repeat of January 6 looms ominously. The Court should sentence Easterday in a way adequate to discourage him particularly, and others usually, from taking place that highway once more,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing.

A jury convicted Easterday final October of 9 counts, together with fees that he assaulted Capitol law enforcement officials Joshua Pollitt and Miguel Acevedo with pepper spray that he acquired from different rioters.

Easterday traveled from his residence in Bonnieville, Kentucky, to Washington, D.C., to attend then-President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally close to the White House on Jan. 6. {A photograph} captured Easterday holding a Confederate battle flag after he climbed a tree close to the rally website.

After marching to the Capitol, Easterday joined different rioters in storming the East Plaza. He waved his flag as he pushed his by way of the mob to succeed in the the East Rotunda Doors, the place he individually attacked the 2 officers.

Pollitt misplaced consciousness and collapsed within the mob after Easterday sprayed his unprotected face.

“Once Officer Pollitt regained consciousness, he was terrified by how weak he had been,” prosecutors wrote. “The intense ache and imaginative and prescient loss continued for hours.”

A video exhibits Easterday smirking simply earlier than he sprayed Acevedo.

“Easterday’s smirk earlier than deploying the second cannister, having noticed the results of his first spray in opposition to Officer Pollitt, demonstrates each his callousness in direction of different human beings and the enjoyment he obtained from partaking in violence,” prosecutors wrote.

Pollitt pulled different rioters into the Capitol as he entered the constructing. He spent roughly 13 minutes contained in the Capitol.

Easterday, now 23, was arrested in December 2022 in Miami, the place his boat was docked for a missionary journey to offer free bibles to church buildings within the Bahamas.

Prosecutors described the Confederate flag as a “image of treason, defiance of the regulation, and rebel.” Easterday’s attorneys say he has led an “extraordinarily sheltered life” at his Amish household’s farm in rural Kentucky and didn’t absolutely perceive what the flag signifies.

“Unlike different defendants who posted messages on numerous social media platforms voicing their help for former President Trump and in any other case encouraging violent rhetoric, Isreal used this journey as an excuse to go away his household farm, which he by no means did till he was about 16 or 17 years previous,” his legal professionals wrote in a court filing.

More than 100 law enforcement officials have been injured in the course of the Jan. 6 assault. Over 1,350 people have been charged with Capitol riot-related federal crimes. More than 800 of them have been sentenced, with roughly two-third receiving phrases of imprisonment starting from a couple of days to 22 years.

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