Mehta mentioned he seen Webster’s conduct as among the many most egregious of any defendant sentenced thus far. Till Thursday, the lengthiest sentences had been given to Texas militia member Man Reffitt and native Virginia police officer Thomas Robertson, who had been convicted by juries of trying to hinder congressional proceedings.
It’s the newest in a string of steeper sentences which were issued as rioters dealing with felony costs — a few of whom have taken their instances to trial — be taught their destiny from the judges who’ve presided over their instances for greater than a yr.
Pictures of Webster trying to tear the fuel masks off of Rathbun’s face amid broader chaos on the Capitol are among the many most indelible photos to emerge from the Jan. 6 assault. Mehta expressed incredulity that Webster took the stand in his personal protection and tried to argue that his effort to tear the officer’s fuel masks off was actually simply to indicate him his palms and show he wasn’t a menace.
“There isn’t any doubt in my thoughts that your conception of what had occurred that day and as you described it was totally fanciful and unimaginable,” Mehta mentioned.
Mehta mentioned that whereas any violence towards a police officer could be “dangerous sufficient,” that the assault occurred as a part of a mob assault meant to disrupt the switch of presidential energy added weight to the crime.
“This occurred within the context of one thing greater,” he mentioned. “It occurred within the context of…one of many darkest days within the historical past of our nation.”
“We merely can not have a rustic,” he mentioned, “by which people who find themselves on the dropping facet of an election suppose you need to use violence and bodily power to undo that end result. We can not operate as a rustic if folks suppose they’ll behave violently once they lose an election.”