Capitol riot: 17 years sentence sought for ‘eye gouger’ ex-officer – Business Insider


  • The DOJ wants an ex-police officer to serve 210 months in prison for his January 6 role. 
  • That sentence, for Thomas Webster, would be the longest term yet for a Capitol rioter. 
  • Webster’s lawyer argues he was misled by Trump, and has regretted it ever since. 
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Federal prosecutors are seeking the longest sentence yet for a Capitol rioter, asking the judge to give a former NYPD officer 210 months — seventeen and a half years — in prison. 

Thomas Webster was found guilty on all six charges in May, including assaulting an officer and entering restricted grounds. His sentencing is set for September 1. 

In a statement arguing for a shorter sentence, Webster’s lawyer said that he had been under “an extraordinary amount of influence” from former President Donald Trump’s election falsehoods on January 6, 2021. 

The criminal complaint describes Webster elbowing his way through the mob to be among those leading the charge against the Capitol police barricade, shouting at one officer: “You fucking piece of shit,” and “you fucking commie fuck.”

Webster also wielded a metal flagpole at the riot. The DOJ later released body camera footage of him repeatedly hitting the metal barrier next to the officer with it until it broke, the complaint said.

The footage then shows him tackling the officer to the ground and appearing to gouge the officer’s eyes. 

The jury rejected Webster’s argument at trial that he acted in self-defense.

Webster’s status as a former member of law enforcement — he had served as part of former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s security detail — was at odds with his conduct towards the Capitol police, his defense conceded in court documents seen by Insider. 

Nonetheless, lawyer James Monroe asked the judge to consider a shorter sentence on the grounds of Webster’s later remorse and the notion that former President Donald Trump misled him. 

Election-fraud lies “championed by former President Donald Trump exerted an extraordinary amount of influence” over people like Webster, who had received “relentless disinformation” from Trump’s supporters, Monroe said.

Now that Webster understands the election was fair, he is “deeply ashamed and remorseful,” said the lawyer.

Citing poet Paul Edridge, Monroe said that judging Webster’s character only on his January 6 crimes “is like judging the sea by a jug full of its water.”

He presented numerous documents attesting to Webster’s years of good service and letters from friends and family describing him in terms such as “a person of strong faith, integrity, and moral values.”

That 17 years and six months recommended by the DOJ stretches far beyond the longest sentence handed down to Capitol rioters so far, more than seven years given to rioter Guy Reffitt.

In that case, prosecutors sought a much longer sentence of 15 years, closer to what is being asked for Webster.